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India slams interference by ‘fellow democracies’ US and Germany over opposition leader’s arrest

Analysts do not expect the issue to have a serious impact on bilateral relations between the countries involved, with one expert calling it part of the “standard diplomatic dance”.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Delhi and Punjab and is a strong opponent to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has denied the allegation, calling it a “fabricated case”.

The Indian government summoned the German embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Georg Enzweiler, last Saturday after Berlin said that Kejriwal is entitled to a “fair and impartial trial”.

Sebastian Fischer, the spokesman for Germany’s foreign office, said during a press conference last Friday that “we assume and expect that the standards relating to the independence of the judiciary and basic democratic principles will also be applied in this case”.

The next day, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said in a statement that India conveyed its strong protest against Berlin’s remark, describing it as “interfering in the judicial process and undermining the independence of the judiciary”.

“India is a vibrant and robust democracy with rule of law… Biased assumptions made on this account are most unwarranted,” he added.

Four days after India lodged its protest with Germany, the US echoed the call for Kejriwal’s “unbiased” treatment.

A US State Department spokesperson said it was closely following reports of the opposition leader’s arrest, adding that Washington calls for “a fair legal process”.

Kejriwal has been remanded to 10 days in custody with the ED until April 1 following a judicial order. The ED alleged that the AAP had received 1 billion rupees (US$13.9 million) in kickbacks through the excise scheme to fund its election campaigns in the