Delhi excise policy: ED summons CM Arvind Kejriwal for questioning on 2 Nov
This is the first time that Kejriwal has been summoned by the ED. He was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case in April
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning in an excise policy-linked money-laundering case on 2 November, official sources said on Monday.
Kejriwal (55) has been issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and according to the sources, the agency will record his statement once he deposes before the investigating officer of the case in Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) national convenor has been asked to depose at the ED's Delhi office at 11 am on 2 November, the sources said.
This is the first time that Kejriwal has been summoned by the ED. He was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case in April.
Reacting to the summons, Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said it is clear that the BJP-led Centre's only goal is to finish the AAP.
"They are leaving no stone unturned to frame Kejriwal in a fake case and send him to jail," Bharadwaj said.
The ED has mentioned Kejriwal's name multiple times in its chargesheets filed in the case and said the accused were in touch with him regarding the preparation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
The ED has claimed in one of the chargesheets that it has recorded the statement of Butchibabu, an accountant allegedly linked to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, in which he said "there was political understanding between K Kavitha and the chief minister (Kejriwal) and (former) deputy chief minister (Manish Sisodia). In that process, K Kavitha also met Vijay Nair (AAP communications in-charge arrested in the case) on March 19-20, 2021".
In an another instance involving arrested accused Dinesh Arora, the ED said he told the agency that he had met Kejriwal once at his residence.
Similarly, the ED chargesheet said YSRCP MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy also held meetings with Kejriwal, wherein the AAP leader welcomed his entry into the Delhi liquor business.
It had said Buchibabu and another accused, Arun Pillai, have revealed that they and Nair were working with the "support and sanction" of Kejriwal and Sisodia for all the excise policy-related activities, including its formulation and implementation.
It had also alleged that Nair "arranged a video call through facetime (a video-calling facility on iPhone) on his phone for another arrested accused, Sameer (Mahendru), and Sh Arvind Kejriwal, where Sh Arvind said to Sh Sameer that Vijay is his boy and that Sh Sameer should trust him and carry on with him".
Kejriwal had then rubbished the contents of the ED complaint, saying the agency has "filed 5,000 chargesheets under the tenure of the current government".
"How many people have been sentenced? All the cases filed by the ED are fake and they are used to topple governments or form them. The ED does not file cases to eradicate corruption. They do it to buy MLAs, topple governments. There is a question on the ED chargesheet," he had said.
It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
The policy was subsequently scrapped and the Delhi lieutenant governor recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in its implementation, following which the ED registered a case under the PMLA.
In a related development, the Supreme Court rejected two separate bail pleas of Sisodia in corruption and money-laundering cases related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam and said a transfer of Rs 338 crore was tentatively established in the matter.
Published: 31 Oct 2023, 9:49 AM