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India on Wednesday “strongly” objected to the US State Department Spokesperson’s remarks regarding Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. In a statement issued shortly after summoning a senior US diplomat in response, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We take strong objection to the remarks of the Spokesperson of the US State Department about certain legal proceedings in India”.

“In diplomacy, states are expected to respect each other’s sovereignty and internal affairs. This responsibility is especially important when dealing with other democracies. Otherwise, it may set unhealthy precedents,” the ministry stated.

The MEA stated that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary, adding that “casting doubt on that is unwarranted”. 

The MEA in Delhi had summoned Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission. The meeting lasted approximately 40 minutes.

The summons came two days after a State Department spokesperson stated that the US is closely monitoring reports of Indian opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest and supports a fair legal process. “We encourage a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal,” the US official said in response to a question from Reuters. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Kejriwal on corruption charges last week.

The development comes just days after India summoned the Deputy Chief of Mission of the German Embassy in India, Georg Enzweiler, and registered a “strong protest” for commenting on New Delhi’s “internal affairs” in response to Germany’s remarks about the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The German Foreign Ministry stated that Kejriwal is “entitled to a fair and impartial trial”. Read the full report here

The ED arrested Kejriwal late Thursday night at his residence and will hold him until March 28. He was arrested for alleged money laundering in connection with the ongoing Delhi excise policy case, which was laid down in 2021-22 but was scrapped later.

The arrest has also sparked sharp criticism from domestic opposition political parties. The ED has claimed that Kejriwal was the mastermind behind the policy, which led to the arrest of other senior members of Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP). In a counterclaim, the AAP claimed that the money trail in the Delhi liquor policy case leads back to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

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