Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday did not show up before the ED and instead asked the investigators to withdraw the summons issued for his questioning in the liquor scam on Thursday as he claimed it was “illegal and politically motivated”. Kejriwal left the national capital for a road show he did along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh.
Kejriwal was asked by the agency on October 28 to appear before the investigators here as it wanted his statements on allegations including that the Delhi excise policy was tweaked to favour some liquor businessmen and that ₹100 crore was paid to the Aam Admi Party which was utilised for funding Goa elections.
“The summon notice is illegal and politically motivated. The notice was sent at the behest of the BJP. Notice was sent to ensure that I am unable to go for election campaigning in four States. ED should withdraw the notice immediately,” Arvind Kejriwal wrote to ED.
ED sources stated that the officials are examining Kejriwal’s response and a fresh date for his questioning would be issued since they gave assurance to the Supreme Court that the trial would be completed in 6 to 8 months in this case.
At BJP’s behest
Kejriwal also dubbed the summons “vague, motivated and unsustainable in law” since it’s not clear in which capacity he was being asked to appear, “as a witness or a suspect”. Therefore, as per the CM, it was issued to him for extraneous considerations at the behest of the BJP. “The said summons does not specify whether I am being summoned as an individual or in my official capacity as chief minister of Delhi or as national convenor of AAP,” Kejriwal also pointed out.
Explaining why he feels the ED exercise is motivated, the CM said “simultaneous to the summons, in the afternoon of 30.10.2023, BJP leaders started making statements that soon I would be summoned and arrested. By the evening of that day, I received your summons”. He named BJP MP from Delhi Manoj Tiwari as one of the leaders who made such statements.
The ED has so far arrested Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and party MP Sanjay Singh and the AAP has openly expressed apprehension that Kejriwal might also be picked up in the exise policy rigging case.
The Delhi Police, meanwhile, has taken adequate security measures and deployed its personnel as well as from the Central Armed Police Force at the Kejriwal residence and the ED office in anticipation of protests by the AAP workers.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on whose FIR the ED began its money laundering probe, had examined Kejriwal on April 16 over charges that he was party to the decision to increase profit margin from five per cent to 12 per cent for liquor wholesalers, apart from other irregularities committed in the case.
Early on Thursday morning, the ED raided the premises of Delhi Cabinet Minister Raaj Kumar Anand for allegedly being involved in a customs evasion case. Assisted by the CRPF personnel, a team of agency officials searched a dozen premises, including that of Anand in the Civil Lines area here, since 7:30 am, ED sources stated.
ED took up a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) chargesheet filed to probe charges of false declarations in imports for customs evasion of more than ₹7 crore apart from international hawala transactions, the sources said.