India opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal granted bail in graft case

FILE PHOTO: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses supporters

By Sakshi Dayal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India opposition leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was granted bail by a city court in a graft case on Thursday, his party and lawyers said, following national elections in which opposition groups fared better than expected.

India's financial-crime fighting agency arrested Kejriwal in March in connection with corruption allegations relating to the national capital territory's liquor policy - allegations he has denied.

He was granted temporary bail by India's top court in May "because of the (national) elections", enabling him to campaign for his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the INDIA alliance of over two dozen opposition groups, of which AAP is a member.

Kejriwal surrendered to prison authorities on June 2 as his temporary bail ended.

"Tomorrow morning, the process for bail will be completed and he will be released from prison tomorrow afternoon," Rishikesh Kumar, a member of Kejriwal's legal team, said on Thursday evening.

The AAP and leaders of the INDIA alliance have dismissed the graft allegations against Kejriwal and other members of his party over the last two months, and said his arrest was an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to deny opposition groups a level playing field in the polls.

The government has denied the allegations.

"Truth can be troubled, not defeated," AAP said in a post on social media platform X following the court's order.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party lost its outright majority in the elections that ended early this month. It formed the government with the support of its allies.

(This June 20 story has been corrected to fix the surrender date to June 2, not June 1, in paragraph 4)

(Reporting by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Alison Williams and Barbara Lewis)