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Delhi excise policy scam: Arvind Kejriwal to skip ED summons, to visit Madhya Pradesh for election campaign

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). This is the first time that he has been summoned by the ED.

Reported By : Bhaskar Mishra Edited By : Anurag Roushan
New Delhi
Updated on: November 02, 2023 10:25 IST
Arvind Kejriwal
Image Source : PTI Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi excise policy scam: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was scheduled to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday in the alleged excise policy scam, will skip the summons. Kejriwal will visit Madhya Pradesh's Singhrauli today for the election campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief has been summoned for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the case.  This comes six months after he was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) related to the matter.  

The Delhi Chief Minister has been issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). According to the sources, the agency will record his statement once he appears before the investigating officer of the case in Delhi. However, the ruling AAP has refrained from speaking about whether the Chief Minister will appear before the ED or not.

CBI questioned Kejriwal in April 

After being asked around 56 questions by the CBI in April regarding the liquor scam, Kejriwal had described the entire matter as "fabricated" and an attempt to destabilize the AAP. This is the first time that he has been summoned by the ED. In its chargesheets submitted in the case, the ED mentioned Kejriwal's name several times and claimed that the accused were in touch with him about the Delhi Excise Policy 2021–2022. 

What stems Kejriwal's questioning?

Butchibabu, an accountant allegedly connected to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, is said to have stated in one of the chargesheets filed by the ED that "there was a political understanding between Kavitha, CM Kejriwal and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia." "In that process, Kavitha also met Vijay Nair (AAP communications in-charge arrested in the case) on March 19-20, 2021," Butchibabu stated, as claimed by the ED. 

In 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.

Manish Sisodia in jail 

Notably, Sisodia was arrested by the CBI in the case in February this year. The ED arrested Sisodia in a money laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9 after questioning him in Tihar jail. His bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court earlier this week. The top court rejected two separate bail pleas of Sisodia in corruption and money-laundering cases related to the alleged excise policy scam and said a transfer of Rs 338 crore was tentatively established in the matter.

Based on a report of the chief secretary of the Delhi government, Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe in July last year into alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the policy. The report cited various alleged irregularities including a waiver of Rs 144 crore to the retail licensees under the policy in the name of COVID-19-impacted sales and a refund of Rs 30 crore to a successful bidder for the airport zone who failed to obtain a no objection certificate for opening liquor stores there.

Delhi excise policy scam

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 this, the ED registered a case under the PMLA.

ALSO READ: Delhi excise policy scam: Supreme Court dismisses Manish Sisodia's bail pleas in money laundering cases

 

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