NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will skip the Enforcement Directorate’s summons for the fifth time in connection with the money laundering probe related to irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22 case.
The fresh summons to the Delhi CM followed the fourth summons, which he had skipped on January 18.
While skipping the fifth summons, the party called it “unlawful.”
“Delhi CM and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal will not appear before ED today as well. We will comply with the lawful summons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim is to arrest Arvind Kejriwal and topple the Delhi government. We will not allow this to happen,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said.
Kejriwal has so far skipped four previous summons issued by the ED on January 18, January 3, November 2, and December 22, calling them “illegal and politically motivated.”
The ED wants to record Kejriwal’s statement in the case on issues like the formulation of policy, meetings held before it was finalized, and allegations of bribery.
While skipping the fourth summons issued by the ED, Kejriwal termed it “illegal,” saying he was ready to cooperate, but the agency intended to arrest him and stop him from election campaigning.
“All four notices sent to me (by the ED) are illegal and invalid in the eyes of the law. Whenever such general, non-specific notices were sent by the ED in the past, they were quashed and declared invalid by courts. These notices are being sent as part of a political conspiracy,” Kejriwal said after skipping the fourth notice.
The case is based on a First Information Report (FIR) alleging multiple irregularities in the formation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The policy was withdrawn after allegations of corruption.
In its sixth charge sheet filed in the case on December 2, 2023, naming AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, the ED has claimed that the AAP used kickbacks worth Rs 45 crore generated via the policy as part of its assembly elections campaign in Goa in 2022.
The excise policy was aimed at revitalizing the city’s flagging liquor business and replacing a sales-volume-based regime with a licence fee for traders. It promised swankier stores and a better buying experience. The policy introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor for the first time in Delhi.
Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s move to order a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime prompted the scrapping of the policy. The AAP has accused Saxena’s predecessor, Anil Baijal, of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.
Two senior AAP leaders–Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh–are already under judicial custody in the case. Sisodia, who was the then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested by the CBI on February 26 following several rounds of questioning, and on October 5, the ED arrested Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member. (ANI)