Kejriwal skips ED questioning again, says summons issued at behest of "political rivals"
Kejriwal sent his reply to the ED which said the summons do not specify whether he was being called as "a witness or a suspect" or as the "chief minister, Delhi or the AAP's national convener"
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, 21 December skipped the second summons issued by the ED, alleging "they were issued at the behest of political rivals who wish to silence the voice of the opposition".
Kejriwal was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the excise policy-linked money laundering case on Thursday. The chief minister left for an undisclosed location for a 10-day Vipassana meditation course on Wednesday, 20 December.
Kejriwal sent his reply to the ED on Wednesday in which he said the summons do not specify whether he was being called as "a witness or a suspect" or as the "chief minister, Delhi or the Aam Aadmi Party's national convener".
He said the fresh summons -- issued on 18 December -- should be revoked, withdrawn, and recalled.
"The timing of your summons leaves much to desire and strengthens my belief that the summons being sent to me are not based upon any objective or rational yardstick but for extraneous considerations at the behest of political rivals who wish to silence the voice of opposition to the ruling dispensation at the Centre to create sensational news in the final few months leading up to the Parliamentary elections in early to mid 2024," read the reply.
Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is part of the INDIA opposition bloc.
Earlier, Kejriwal was summoned by the ED on 2 November but he skipped the questioning alleging the notice was illegal and politically motivated.
He said the ED served the fresh summons without responding to the issues raised by him in his previous reply.
"Your summons appears to be a fishing and roving enquiry. In similar circumstances, where individuals are neither informed about the case details nor the capacity in which they are being summoned by the Enforcement Directorate, High courts have declared such summons of Enforcement Directorate invalid and quashed the summons," the reply said.
The AAP national convener stressed that he is "holding a sensitive constitutional post as an elected leader and incumbent Chief Minister of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi".
"I have life of dignity, honour and with complete transparency. As per my schedule publicly known to all, from 20.12.2023, I would be attending the Vipassana Meditation Course which I have been attending annually for the last 25 years," he said in the reply.
Asserting that he is a "law-abiding", "conscientious" and an ordinary citizen of the country, Kejriwal said he does not shirk away from complying with any summons issued in compliance with the law but the "summons is (I am advised) not in consonance with the law".
Kejriwal was scheduled to leave for the Vipassana course on Tuesday, 19 December but could not do so as he was busy with the INDIA bloc meeting. He left at around 1.30 pm on Wednesday, 20 December for the pre-scheduled meditation course, officials said.
The AAP on Tuesday questioned the timing of the summons, saying the party's lawyers are studying the notice and "legally correct" steps will be taken.
They said Kejriwal's Vipassana session was "pre-scheduled" and the information was in the public domain.
"Everyone knows the chief minister is leaving for Vipassana on 19 December. He regularly goes for this meditation course. It's a pre-scheduled and pre-announced plan," AAP MP Raghav Chadha said.
Published: 21 Dec 2023, 3:45 PM