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Hours after India summoned a senior US diplomat to protest comments about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated on Wednesday that Washington supports fair, transparent, and timely legal processes, and that “we don’t think anyone should object to that”.

“We continue to closely monitor these actions, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” Matthew Miller said in response to a question during the state department briefing earlier in the day about India summoning acting deputy chief of mission Gloria Berbena in New Delhi.

US On Congress Party’s ‘Frozen Bank Accounts’

Miller further answered a question about the freezing of the Congress party’s bank accounts.

“We are also aware of the Congress party’s claims that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts, making it difficult to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. And we support fair, transparent, and timely legal processes for all of these issues,” he stated.

Miller did, however, deny discussing any private diplomatic conversations, saying, “With respect to your first question, I am not going to talk about any private diplomatic conversations, but of course, 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, and we’ll make the same thing clear privately”. 

The Ministry of External Affairs summoned Gloria Berbena. The MEA also issued a strong protest against a US State Department official’s remarks about Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case related to the now-defunct Delhi excise policy.

READ | Fellow Democracies Should Act Responsibly: India Tells US On Kejriwal’s Remarks

The case involves alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped. The meeting reportedly lasted longer than 30 minutes.

According to reports, a State Department official stated that the US “encouraged a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal”.

Earlier, the MEA stated that Delhi strongly objected to the US State Department spokesperson’s remarks 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 MEA said in a statement.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” the MEA said.

On Saturday (23 March), India summoned Germany’s deputy chief of mission in Delhi and expressed strong opposition to the foreign ministry’s remarks on Kejriwal’s arrest.

The Enforcement Directorate arrested Kejriwal in connection with a money laundering investigation involving the spirits policy.

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