ED escalates probe into AAP: Delhi CM Kejriwal under scrutiny
AAP denies ED allegations in the alleged 'Delhi Jal Board' scam, plans legal action for defaming the party
With a Delhi court asking Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before it on February 17, on a complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the Aam Aadmi Party chief for missing five consecutive summons in connection with the liquor excise policy case, options seem to be running out for him.
Earlier this week, several premises linked to AAP leaders were raided with the aim of expanding the scope of investigations in the liquor case and in connection with a separate corruption case involving the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). On Tuesday, AAP claimed the CBI raids lasted 23 hours and were carried out in connection with alleged illegal monetary gains to a private company for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of water meters by the DJB.
AAP has rejected allegations of ED in the alleged 'Delhi Jal Board' scam case. The party called the allegations "blatantly false" and has decided to legal action for defaming the party. Raids had been conducted on the premises of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's personal assistant.
The ED stated that its probe revealed that a former chief engineer of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) passed on the bribe money to persons connected with AAP and that was allegedly used as "election funds”.
Slamming the ED for its accusations, the party said, “We condemn any kind of wrongdoing done by DJB officials or its contractors, if proven true. We also condemn the ED's blatantly false allegation that AAP or its leaders had anything to do with it. Not a single piece of evidence has been recovered from the AAP leaders who were raided yesterday by ED”.
AAP said in the last 10 years, Modi government and their 'mayajaal' of agencies like ED and CBI have filed over 230 cases against AAP leaders. Yet not a single one has been proven in courts and all this proves that ED is nothing but a mouthpiece of the BJP.
The raids were conducted the same day that the ED threatened legal action against AAP leader and minister Atishi for stating that there were loopholes in the ED probe into the liquor policy case, which has led to the arrest of several senior leaders, including former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Atishi accused the ED of coercing witnesses in the Delhi liquor policy case and tampering with the footage of their interrogations. At a press conference, Atishi listed instances where witnesses who had been questioned by the ED, told the party that they had been coerced into giving statements against AAP leaders. The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the raids on Tuesday were a reaction to Atishi having scheduled the press conference.
“It’s clear that the Modi government is a big believer in the adage ‘If you repeat a lie a thousand times, people will start believing it’. This shows their only purpose is to defame CM Arvind Kejriwal and AAP by creating a media sensation every day,” said the party’s official statement.
The party reiterated that they would take legal action against ED for defaming AAP. "If the ED was really keen on tackling corruption and money laundering, why is it that there is no investigation into scams of the Modi government revealed by the CAG like the Ayushman Bharat scam or Bharatmala project scam where a km of road was built for Rs 250 cr instead of Rs 18 cr," it said.
Kejriwal hit out the BJP-led Centre at Jantar Mantar on Thursday where leaders and lawmakers from the Left Democratic Front of Kerala, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, protested the fiscal discrimination of the Union government.
"They have arrested Hemant Soren, now they can arrest even me. They can arrest anyone and send him to jail to topple the government. BJP should stop being arrogant,” added Kejriwal.
Probes are now on in several of the cases against AAP leaders, with a majority of them starting out as inquiries by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Branch (which come under the Lieutenant Governor and hence the Centre’s purview), before landing with central investigation agencies.