ED issues 5th summon to CM Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi excise policy case | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

ED issues 5th summon to CM Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi excise policy case

Jan 31, 2024 03:21 PM IST

Kejriwal skipped the earlier summons on November 2, December 22, and on January 3 and January 18, calling the probe “illegal and politically motivated”

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh, and the fifth, summon to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear this week in connection with the federal agency’s money laundering probe linked to irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI Photo)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener skipped the previous four summons — on November 2, December 22, and on January 3 and January 18 — calling the probe “illegal and politically motivated”.

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In his response to ED’s third summon, Kejriwal said he was ready to cooperate but alleged that the agency intented to arrest and prevent him from campaigning for this year’s Lok Sabha elections.

The agency, however, said it wants to question Kejriwal on the formulation of the excise policy, meetings held before it was finalised, and the allegations of bribery.

In its sixth charge sheet filed in the case on 2 December 2023 naming AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, ED claimed that AAP used kickbacks worth 45 crore, generated through the policy, for its assembly elections campaign in Goa in 2022.

While ED has in the past alleged that bribes generated in the excise policy were used to fund the poll campaign, this is the first time the agency has mentioned the amount of the purported kickbacks, and called AAP a direct beneficiary. These findings are expected to be used by ED when it names the party in its next charge sheet.

ED has claimed that total bribes worth 100 crore were paid to AAP leaders in connection with the excise policy.

In one of its five charge sheets, ED claimed that the excise policy was Kejriwal’s “brainchild”. Kejriwal has also been mentioned in remand papers with references to alleged meetings, commissions for private players, and the entry of political players and businesspeople from the south into Delhi’s liquor business.

The financial crimes probe agency has so far filed six charge sheets in this probe against 31 individuals and entities, including former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Singh. Both AAP leaders are currently lodged in Tihar jail.

The excise policy was aimed to revitalise the city’s flagging liquor business and replace a sales volume-based regime with a license 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 the alleged irregularities in the regime prompted the scrapping of the policy. The AAP accused Saxena’s predecessor Anil Baijal of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

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    Neeraj Chauhan, senior associate editor with the National Political Bureau of Hindustan Times, writes on security, terrorism, corruption, laundering, black money, narcotics, and related policy matters while covering MHA, ED, CBI, NIA, IB, CVC, NHRC, CAG, Income Tax department, etc.

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