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OPINION | KEJRIWAL, CORRUPTION AND MODI

In a letter sent to ED assistant director, drafted probably by his lawyers, Kejriwal described the summons as 'a fishing and roving inquiry'.

Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Published on: November 03, 2023 17:55 IST
INDIA alliance partner Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav
Image Source : INDIA TV INDIA alliance partner Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that BJP is misusing investigating agencies to throw opposition leaders in jail.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped the summons issued by Enforcement Directorate on Thursday describing it as “motivated” and “unsustainable in law”. Instead, he went to Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh for a roadshow with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, where he said, he had no idea whether he would be in jail or not, when the election results will come out on December 3. In a letter sent to ED assistant director, drafted probably by his lawyers, Kejriwal described the summons as “a fishing and roving inquiry”. Kejriwal wrote, “As the chief minister of the state of NCT of Delhi, I have governance and official commitments, for which my presence is required, particularly in view of Deepavali festivities coming up in the second week of November. In view of the above, please recall the said summons, which, to say the least, is vague and motivated, and I am advised, unsustainable in law…The said summons is not clear as to the capacity I am being summoned, that is, as a witness or a suspect in the case. ..It does not specify whether I am being summoned as an individual or in my official capacity as Chief Minister of Delhi or as a National Convenor of AAP…”.

In his letter, Kejriwal alleged that “ the said summons was leaked to select BJP leaders to malign my image and reputation and has been issued at the behest of ruling party at the Centre.” ED had summoned Kejriwal for questioning in the Delhi excise scam. Two senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are already in judicial custody in this case. Sisodia was arrested on February 26 by CBI and his latest bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court. Sanjay Singh was arrested on October 5 by ED. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Kejriwal ran away from ED’s summons because he does not want to face the truth. ..It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the Delhi liquor scam king has accepted that he was involved in liquor scam and corruption”. He said, ED summons was based on factual evidence and the Delhi CM was trying to place himself above law. Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu launched a sharp attack on Kejriwal  and described AAP’s reaction as “chori aur seenazori” (nonchalant, despite committing theft).

Sidhu questioned why Delhi government had to withdraw its excise policy after two and a half months, if there were no irregularities. “If it was in public interest, why was it withdrawn”, he asked. Sidhu said, the same excise policy has been implemented in Punjab and has not been withdrawn yet. BJP leaders, in their reactions, used words like ‘coward’ and ‘absconder’ for Kejriwal. INDIA alliance partner Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that BJP is misusing investigating agencies to throw opposition leaders in jail. RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav alleged that BJP was using CBI and ED to run down state governments which are performing well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was campaigning in Chhattisgarh, did not name Kejriwal, but told the rally in Kanker that “those who have looted public money will have to go to jail and return the money, however big the leader may be. Your voice must reach Delhi.” 

This was an indirect warning to Kejriwal. Modi neither named Kejriwal nor did he mention Delhi liquor scam, but his last line “your voice must reach Delhi” gave an ominous warning. The question is: why did Modi raise Delhi issue in Chhattisgarh? In Chhattisgarh too, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel’s government is facing liquor scam charges. In Delhi, already three top leaders of Kejriwal’s party are behind bars in liquor scam and Kejriwal has been sent summons for questioning. The reaction from Kejriwal was immediate. While campaigning in neighbouring state MP for his party candidate Rani Agrawal, the Mayor of Singrauli, Kejriwal mentioned his party’s achievements in Delhi and Punjab, and at the same time, he said, he does not know whether he will be in jail or outside when the results will come in on December 3. He alleged that “a plan is being hatched to thrown him in jail and he had come to MP to campaign before he is arrested…. I do not fear going to jail, lakhs of Kejriwals will come out to go to jail. Let’s see how many people BJP can throw in jails”.

On Thursday, ED officers carried out searches till early next morning in the official residence of Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand and 11 other places. According to a chargesheet filed by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Raaj Kumar Anand had allegedly carried out hawala transactions to the tune of Rs seven crores. A Delhi court had taken cognizance of the case, after which ED carried out searched under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Anand is Delhi’s social welfare minister and is a legislator from Patel Nagar. AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj alleged that BJP is acting in a manner which is more cruel than the British rulers. If one goes through the list of opposition leaders against whom ED has filed cases, you may agree with Kejriwal when he alleges that the government may throw all of them in jails and contest next year’s Lok Sabha elections alone.

Kejriwal is a clever political player and he is unlikely to accept defeat. He always tries to turn the game. His party leaders have alleged that the ED filed nearly 5,000 cases in the last nine years, out of which 95 per cent cases were against opposition leaders and their relatives. The conviction rate is only 0.5 per cent. Such statements may sound convincing, but there is a Hindi proverb: “Sau maar sunaar ki, Ek maar luhaar ki” (verbatim: A goldsmith may hammer a hundred times, but a single hammer from a blacksmith is sufficient). Narendra Modi has again said, as he did earlier too, that “those who have committed corruption will have to go to jail”. Modi’s oft-repeated phrase is “Na Khaaonga, Na Khaane Doonga” (I won’t take bribes, nor shall I allow others to do so). Modi is clear in his line. There will be no compromise on the issue of corruption. This is true to a large extent.

Modi never listens to others whenever a case of corruption comes to him. He never wastes time judging the political pros and cons of taking such a step. For him, corruption is a big issue. From Day One, his government has acted against those who scammed money from banks, who carried out scams, and pocketed public money from exchequer. Modi has always said, no matter howsoever big or influential one may be, he will not spare him or her. If this is Modi’s strength, it is also his biggest challenge, because opposition parties have come together on a single platform to contest next year’s parliamentary elections. The only reason why these parties joined hands is because of ED and CBI. Both these agencies may or may not helped the BJP, but they have indirectly helped opposition unity. ED has linked all the anti-Modi parties in a single threat. Political analysts are now busy calculating whether ED and CBI cases will be a loss or gain for Modi in elections.

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