India opposition members detained after arrest of Delhi leader Kejriwal

A police officer stands guard next to a journalist in front of the Enforcement Directorate, after Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was arrested in a corruption case, in New Delhi on March 21 (AFP)

Dozens of members of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were detained by police in New Delhi on Friday as they gathered in protest against the arrest of their leader for graft, weeks before India holds general elections.

India's financial crime agency arrested Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of the national capital territory of Delhi on Thursday in connection with graft allegations relating to the city's liquor policy.

Kejriwal's arrest, less than a month before India begins voting on April 19, is a setback for AAP and the larger opposition alliance of which he is a key leader.

All the main leaders of his decade-old party are in jail in connection with the liquor case.

AAP members, including some ministers in the Delhi city government, were stopped by police and taken away in buses as they shouted slogans and sought to march towards the city court where Kejriwal is expected to be produced, TV visuals showed.

Kejriwal's lawyers have also petitioned the Supreme Court against his arrest and the case is expected to be heard later on Friday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating allegations that a liquor policy implemented by the Delhi government in 2022, which ended its control over sale of liquor, gave undue advantages to private retailers.

The policy was subsequently withdrawn and the AAP government has said no evidence of wrongdoing has emerged in the investigation.

AAP is part of the 27-member 'INDIA' bloc which has dismissed graft investigations against multiple opposition leaders as a politically-motivated smear campaign by the BJP, which runs the federal government that controls the Enforcement Directorate.

The federal government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP deny any political interference and say law enforcement agencies are doing their job.

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