US doubles down on Kejriwal comments, says ‘we encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes’

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal in Rouse Avenue Court after his Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand hearing in an alleged Delhi excise policy case, in New Delhi. He has been sent to ED custody till March 28 by the court. (ANI Photo)


On comments by a US diplomat regarding the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for alleged money laundering in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for the issue.

Addressing a press briefing, Miller was asked about his response to India’s summoning US diplomat over comments on Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal’s arrest and freezing of Congress party’s bank accounts. The US State Department said that they are following these actions closely.

“We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. We are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections,” Miller added. “And we encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues,” he stressed.

Earlier on Wednesday, India took a “strong objection” to the remarks of the United States State Department Spokesperson about certain legal proceedings in India.

“In diplomacy, states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in the case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement today.

The MEA defended India’s legal system, emphasising its independence and dedication to impartial and expedient judgements.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary that is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” the foreign ministry statement read.

Earlier today, US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena was seen leaving the Ministry of External Affairs headquarters. The meeting lasted for approximately 40 minutes.

Miller denied talking about any private diplomatic conversations, and said, “What we have said publicly is what I just said from here, that we encourage fair, transparent, and timely legal processes. We don’t think anyone should object to that.”

Last week, India summoned the German Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi to lodge a strong protest against their foreign office spokesperson’s remarks on the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Making a strong statement against the German Foreign Office spokesperson’s remarks, India said that it sees these remarks as interference in India’s ‘judicial process’ and ‘undermining the independence’ of the Indian judiciary, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

On Friday, a spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry, when questioned on the arrest of Kejriwal, said that he was entitled to a fair trial.

“We have taken note, that India is a democratic country. We assume and expect that the standards relating to independence of Judiciary and basic democratic principles will also be applied in this case. Like anyone facing accusations, Mr Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial, this includes he can make use of all available legal avenues without restrictions. The presumption of innocence is a central element of the rule of law and must apply to him,” the spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry had said.

Kejriwal was, last Friday, remanded in ED custody till March 28, a day after he was arrested by the probe agency for alleged money laundering in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

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