India protests German remarks on opposition leader’s arrest

By Thomson Reuters Mar 23, 2024 | 5:37 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India summoned a German envoy on Saturday to protest against his government’s remarks about the arrest of an Indian opposition leader.

New Delhi summoned the German embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Georg Enzweiler, “and conveyed India’s strong protest,” India’s foreign ministry said.

The embassy had no comment about the protest.

Arvind Kejriwal, a national opposition figure and chief minister of Delhi’s capital territory, was arrested by India’s financial crime-fighting agency on Thursday on corruption charges that his party rejects, a month before national elections.

Asked about the arrest at a government press conference on Friday, Sebastian Fischer, spokesperson for Germany’s foreign office said, Berlin had taken note.

“We assume and expect that the standards relating to independence of judiciary and basic democratic principles will also be applied in this case,” Fischer said, adding that like anyone else facing accusations, Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

“We see such remarks as interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary,” the Indian ministry said in a statement. “Biased assumptions made on this account are most unwarranted.”

It said the law will take its course in the matter, as in all legal cases in the country, and elsewhere in the democratic world.

New Delhi and Berlin share good ties, and the two countries have been coming closer on strategic issues, including defence technology.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik in New Delhi and Emma-Victoria Farr in Frankfurt; Editing by William Mallard)