Delhi Excise Policy case: Arvind Kejriwal skips ED appearance amid scheduled Madhya Pradesh visit
Delhi Excise Policy case: New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has penned a letter to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), urging them to withdraw the summons issued to him in the liquor policy case. Although Mr. Kejriwal had a scheduled appearance for questioning at the ED's Delhi office at 11 am, he has decided not to comply, according to sources.
In the letter, Mr. Kejriwal categorically asserted that the ED's notice is both "illegal and politically motivated" and was sent under the influence of the BJP. He implored the same central probe agency that previously arrested his former deputy, Manish Sisodia, to "immediately revoke the notice."
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today. He will hold a road show, along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh today.
(File photo) pic.twitter.com/weeUzG0YNL — ANI (@ANI) November 2, 2023
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also raised allegations that the central government is pursuing Mr. Kejriwal in a politically driven case.
The ED's case against the AAP leadership gained momentum following the Supreme Court's rejection of Mr. Sisodia's bail request concerning a money trail of ₹338 crore, which the court tentatively established. This sum is believed to represent the earnings of private entities that acquired liquor licenses under the now-defunct policy, with investigators deeming these earnings as the proceeds of a crime.
In response to Mr. Kejriwal's communication to the ED, the BJP contended that the AAP has been involved in corruption, and senior leaders should address questions raised by the court and investigative agencies.
"Arvind Kejriwal's assertion that this is politically motivated lacks merit. The Supreme Court denied bail to Manish Sisodia, citing a tentatively established money trail of ₹338 crore. Even the Congress has leveled accusations of corruption against the Kejriwal government. Is Kejriwal suggesting that all these allegations are politically motivated?" BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla remarked during a press conference.
Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj criticized the ED for its actions, contending that it has been summoning individuals without regard for the rule of law or court oversight.
"Even during colonial times, the police required a warrant to search individuals because it was understood that allowing law enforcement to conduct searches without a warrant would lead to bullying. Today, the ED bypasses the need for warrants. Its officers unilaterally decide whose homes to search," said Mr. Bharadwaj, an AAP MLA representing south Delhi's Greater Kailash, in a video statement.
He also inquired about when the ED would investigate the homes of BJP leaders whose names have been linked to corruption allegations. Numerous reports have surfaced on this matter.
The top leadership of AAP, including Mr. Kejriwal, faces allegations of corruption in the formulation of a new liquor sales policy, which was ultimately revoked following allegations of rule violations raised by the Delhi chief secretary in July 2022. Subsequent to this report, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena requested the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the matter.
If apprehended, Mr. Kejriwal would become the third senior AAP leader to be taken into custody in the liquor policy case. Mr. Sisodia was arrested in February, and the party's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh met the same fate last month. Additionally, Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain had been arrested in a money laundering case the previous year.
- With inputs from agencies