ED Summons Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Connection with Delhi Excise Policy Case
In the latest breaking news, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also serves as the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He is set to record his statement on November 2 regarding the Delhi excise policy case.
The ED’s case is rooted in a First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which raised concerns about multiple irregularities surrounding the formulation and execution of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22). This policy had been scrapped following allegations of corruption.
Mr. Kejriwal had previously been questioned by the CBI on April 16, and after more than nine hours of interrogation, he told the media that the entire case was concocted. He claimed that the agencies lacked evidence and that it was a product of “dirty politics.” According to him, the case was constructed with the intent of undermining the AAP.
Two senior AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia, and Sanjay Singh, find themselves as undertrials in the same case. Mr. Sisodia, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, was arrested by the CBI on February 26 after several rounds of questioning. On October 5, the ED took Mr. Singh into custody, a Rajya Sabha member, following several hours of interrogation.
In response to the ED’s summons, senior party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj asserted that the Central government’s sole intention was to bring an end to the AAP by any means necessary. He claimed that they aimed to incarcerate Mr. Kejriwal and terminate the party.
Another senior party leader, Atishi, accused the BJP of being fearful of the AAP’s progress in Delhi and Punjab. She suggested that this fear was driving the BJP’s attempts to imprison AAP leaders through fabricated cases. She stated, “As part of this conspiracy, Kejriwal has been summoned on November 2 by the ED. The ED wants to arrest him under a false case. We are not afraid of jail or their false cases. We will continue to work for the people.”
In contrast, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva celebrated the ED’s summons to Mr. Kejriwal. He called it a day of truth and claimed that Delhi would finally be liberated from Mr. Kejriwal’s corrupt regime.
The case revolves around allegations of deliberate irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy. It also points to undue favors given to licensees, such as waivers and reductions in license fees and extensions of L-1 licenses without approval.
The ED reported that the previous policy provided wholesalers with an extraordinarily high 12% profit margin, while retailers enjoyed an almost 185% profit margin. This allowed beneficiaries to profit through cartelization.
Furthermore, the ED indicated that the AAP had received around ₹100 crore in advance from a “South group” on behalf of party leaders. The alleged “proceeds of crime” in this case have been quantified at a minimum of ₹1,934 crore. The case has tentatively established a money trail of ₹338 crore, as per the judges, who stressed the importance of establishing a chain of evidence.
In a 41-page order, the court accepted the CBI’s argument that there was a “carefully hatched conspiracy” to ensure select individuals reaped substantial gains. The policy, according to the court, “facilitated getting bribes” from wholesale distributors who were “assured of exorbitant profits.”
Following these developments, Mr. Kejriwal has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in connection with the alleged money laundering aspects of the liquor scandal. He is scheduled to appear at the ED’s Delhi office on November 2.