Indian court extends pre-trial detention of opposition leader Kejriwal

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A Delhi court on Tuesday extended the pre-trial detention of Indian opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal until May 7 in a corruption case, the legal news website Live Law reported.

Kejriwal, the chief minister of the national capital territory of Delhi, was arrested last month in connection with graft allegations relating to the city's liquor policy, weeks before general elections.

The Enforcement Directorate, India's federal financial crime fighting agency, is investigating allegations that a liquor policy implemented by the Delhi government in 2022 gave undue advantages to private retailers.

The policy was subsequently withdrawn. Kejriwal, who rose to power as an anti-corruption crusader and is a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has denied wrongdoing.

His arrest on March 21 sparked protests in Delhi and in the northern state of Punjab governed by his decade-old Aam Aadmi Party, and also drew the attention of the United States and Germany.

His detention has united the 27-party opposition alliance called INDIA, which includes AAP and the Congress party.

However, opinion polls suggest that Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party has a strong lead in elections that are under way and is likely to win a historic third term.

Opposition parties have alleged that the action against Kejriwal is politically motivated but Modi and his party deny the accusations and say law enforcement agencies operate independently.

A seven-phase general election is under way in India, with the second phase of voting scheduled to take place on Friday.

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