Supporters of Modi opponent Kejriwal protest his arrest ahead of Indian election

Supporters of an anti-corruption crusader and one of India's most consequential politicians of the past decade held protests Friday against his arrest, which opposition parties say is part of a crackdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government before national elections.

Arvind Kejriwal, who is New Delhi’s top elected official, was arrested Thursday night by the federal Enforcement Directorate, which is controlled by Modi’s government. The agency accused his party and ministers of accepting 1 billion rupees ($12 million) in bribes from liquor contractors nearly two years ago.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, or Common People’s Party, denied the accusations and said they were fabricated. The party said Kejriwal will remain Delhi’s chief minister while it fights the accusations in court. Late Friday, a New Delhi court allowed the agency to take Kejriwal into custody for seven days.

In 2023, as part of the same case, the agency arrested Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia and AAP lawmaker Sanjay Singh.

In the lead-up to the general election, which starts April 19, India’s opposition parties accuse the government of misusing its power to harass and weaken its political opponents. They point to a spree of raids, arrests and corruption investigations against key opposition figures. Meanwhile, some probes against erstwhile opposition leaders who later defected to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been dropped.


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