New Delhi: A Delhi court has directed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear on February 17 and explain why he has skipped five summons from the Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating alleged money laundering linked to the liquor excise policy scam case in the national capital.
The central probe agency last week filed a fresh complaint against Mr Kejriwal over his non-compliance of its summons. The Aam Aadmi Party boss snubbed the fifth call on February 2.
Mr Kejriwal skipped the January 19 summons too, declaring the notices from the Enforcement Directorate – accused by the AAP and other opposition parties of acting under orders from the BJP-led central government to harass and target rivals before the Lok Sabha election – to be illegal.
The AAP boss also skipped summons for November 2, December 21, and January 31.
He did not respond to the first because he was campaigning for the Madhya Pradesh election, and ignored the others citing various prior commitments, including a 10-day meditation retreat.
Mr Kejriwal was earlier questioned in this case – for nine hours – by the Central Bureau of Investigation; this was in April last year. He has not been made an accused so far. “CBI asked 56 questions (but) everything is fake. Am convinced they don’t have a single piece of evidence,” he had said.
However, two senior members of the party, including former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, have been arrested. Mr Sisodia was arrested in February last year and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in October.
The party has slammed the ED’s actions as “politically motivated” and has complained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “sole aim… is to arrest Arvind Kejriwal and topple the Delhi government”.
The Delhi liquor case refers to allegations the AAP government’s revamped alcohol sales policy of 2022 allowed it to receive crores in kickbacks from cartels, and that this money was channelled into funding election expenses in Goa and other states.
Specifically, both the ED and the CBI have alleged the policy allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers, who paid bribes for liquor sale licenses.
The AAP has strongly refuted all charges. The Delhi government reported a 27 per cent increase in income from the policy and generated ₹ 8,900 crore in revenue. The party has also accused rivals Bharatiya Janata Party – in power at the centre – of manipulating the central agency to target it.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)