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India summons US diplomat over state dept's comments on Arvind Kejriwal's arrest


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Chennai:

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday summoned a senior US diplomat and lodged a strong protest against Washington's remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials summoned the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena at its office in South Block here.

The meeting lasted for more than 30 minutes.

Reports had it that a US state department official had said that Washington "encouraged a fair, transparent and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal".

The MEA later in a statement 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 be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents," the statement said.

India's legal processes are based on "an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes," the MEA said in the statement while underlining that "casting aspersions on that is unwarranted".

The development comes days after India on March 23 had summoned the German deputy chief of mission here and lodged a strong protest against that country's foreign ministry's remarks on the arrest of the Delhi chief minister.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson had "taken note" of Kejriwal's arrest.

"We see such remarks as interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary," the MEA had said.

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to the excise policy 'scam'.

The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 that was later scrapped.

The Indian government has expressed its strong objection to the comments made by the US spokesperson, emphasizing the importance of respecting the sovereignty and internal affairs of other nations, particularly among democratic allies.

The MEA released a statement after meeting with the US envoy.

"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 be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents. India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted."