31 Oct 2023

Delhi excise policy case: Arvind Kejriwal called in for questioning by ED on this day; Saurabh Bhardwaj said this

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been called in for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate regarding Delhi excise policy case. ED is investigating potential money laundering aspects of the case. Kejriwal has been directed to appear at the Central agency's Delhi office on November 2.

Kejriwal (55) has been issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and according to the sources, the agency will record his statement once he deposes before the investigating officer of the case in Delhi. 

The ED has mentioned Kejriwal's name multiple times in its chargesheets filed in the case and said the accused were in touch with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader regarding the preparation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. 

Earlier in April, the Central Bureau of Investigation had summoned Kejriwal for inquiries related to the same matter, even though he had not been identified as an accused in the First Information Report filed by the agency on August 17 the previous year.

Centre's sole aim is to destroy AAP: Bhardwaj

Senior AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj stated, "The sole objective of the Central government is to dismantle the Aam Aadmi Party at any cost. To achieve this, they are employing all possible means, including fabricating a false case. Their aim is to imprison Arvind Kejriwal and obliterate the Aam Aadmi Party."

Today's summons arrived shortly after the Supreme Court rejected the bail request of  Kejriwal's former Deputy, Manish Sisodia, who is the primary accused in this case. The judges noted that a provisional money trail of Rs 338 crore had been identified in the matter and had earlier emphasized the necessity of establishing a chain of evidence.

In a 41-page ruling, the court concurred with the CBI's argument that there was a "carefully devised conspiracy" to ensure that a few individuals gained substantial profits. The policy "facilitated the receipt of bribes" from wholesale distributors who were "promised excessive profits."

Kejriwal's resignation demanded

Following the verdict, leaders from the Delhi BJP unit demanded Kejriwal's resignation. Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva remarked, "The court's decision has provided ample grounds for Chief Minister Kejriwal to step down from his position."

The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing the excise policy, which would have brought them a 12 per cent profit. A liquor lobby it dubbed the "South Group" had paid kickbacks, part of which was routed to public servants. The Enforcement Directorate alleged laundering of the kickbacks.

The BJP has alleged that the proceeds of the alleged scam were used by AAP to fund its large-scale campaign in Gujarat, in which it got a 12.91 per cent votes and established itself as a national party.

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