Editorial 1 May 2024

Editorial 1 May 2024

Title: Poll time, prison time: On the continued incarceration of the Delhi Chief Minister

The continued incarceration of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the midst of a general election highlights the hard political realities that seem to determine which leader gets prosecuted or arrested on allegations of corruption. Over the decades, it has become clear that only an unfriendly regime usually pursues charges against key political rivals; and that the status of relations between the party that runs the government of the day and those facing such charges dictates the course of action for supposedly independent agencies. That the number of leaders whose offences are forgotten as soon as they join the ruling party or become an ally is increasing, while jail time is reserved for adversaries. In Mr. Kejriwal’s case, there is an astounding element of politics vitiating his arrest and prosecution for allegedly taking kickbacks to formulate a liquor policy favourable to the industry. Mr. Kejriwal, who leads the Aam Aadmi Party, has been denied participation in the campaign for the general election. The adverse implications of his absence are quite obvious, even though there is no law that spares politicians from criminal liability in election time. The Delhi excise policy case was registered in August 2022. The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have filed charge sheets, but the investigation has been continuing piecemeal. Witnesses have been giving multiple statements, with each one containing newer material.

The power to arrest a suspect exists only to prevent suspects from fleeing justice, influencing or threatening witnesses and tampering with evidence, or repeating a crime. There is a huge gulf between the power to arrest and the necessity to arrest. It is a disturbing reality that political leaders have been arrested in this case on the basis of statements made by approvers, and not any independent witnesses. The timing of the arrest has also become an issue of substance. That Mr. Kejriwal did not respond to multiple ED summonses may be cited as a reason for his being arrested now rather than months ago. However, this expectation that the accused should “cooperate” with the investigation agency is quite peculiar. Agencies ought to be able to prosecute people without their statements. It is known that Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has been weaponised by the ED to record a statement that is admissible and then record the person’s arrest. Whether non-appearance in response to a summons is a ground for arrest and denial of bail is a question that has arisen in this case. Equally tenable is the question whether arresting serving Chief Ministers through central agencies and keeping them in prison throughout a multi-phase election does not amount to subversion of federalism and democracy.

Meaning of the word:

WordMeaningsynonymsantonyms
Incarcerationrefers to the act of confining someone in a prison or jail as a punishment for a crime or while awaiting trial.Imprisonment Confinement Detention
Custody Incarceration Restraint  
Freedom
Release
Liberation
Exoneration
Absolution
Acquittal  
Prosecutedmeans to be formally charged with a crime and subjected to legal proceedings in a court of law.Charged
Indicted
Tried
Pursued
legally
Brought to trial
Acquitted
Exonerated
Cleared
Absolved
Dismissed  
Pursuesmeans to follow or chase something or someone with the intention of reaching, capturing, or achieving a goal.Chases
Follows
Seeks
Hunts
Tracks
Trails  
Abandons
Retreats
Gives up Relinquishes Abandons
pursuit  
DictatesVerb: To dictate means to speak or read something aloud for someone else to write down or record. Noun: Dictates can refer to commands, orders, or instructions given with authority. It can also refer to guiding principles, rules, or requirements that direct behavior or decision-making.Commands
Orders
Directs
Mandates
Decrees  
Obeys
Follows
Disobeys
Ignores
Rejects  
Adversariesrefers to opponents, rivals, or enemies in a conflict or competition. These are individuals, groups, or entities who are in opposition to each other, often with conflicting interests, goals, or beliefs.Opponents
Rivals
Foes
Enemies Competitors  
Allies
Friends
Supporters Collaborators Partners  
Astoundingdescribes something that is extremely surprising, impressive, or astonishing. It suggests a sense of wonder or amazement at the remarkable nature of something.Amazing Astonishing Remarkable Incredible Breathtaking  Ordinary Unremarkable Common
Mundane Average  
Kickbackstypically refer to illicit payments or bribes given to someone, often in exchange for preferential treatment or to influence their decision-making in a particular situation.Bribes Payoffs Backhanders Sweeteners
Grease
payments  
Legal
payments Transparency Honesty
Integrity
Fair dealings  
Piecemealrefers to something that is done or completed gradually, in small or incremental steps, rather than all at once or in a comprehensive manner.Gradual Incremental
Step-by-step
Bit by bit Sequential  
Comprehensive Complete
Whole
Total
Unified  
PeculiarSomething that is peculiar is different from what is usual or expected. It might be odd or distinctive in a way that catches attention.Unique
Unusual
Strange
Odd
Quirky  
Common
Ordinary
Typical
Normal Conventional  

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