Delhi Excise Policy Case: Kejriwal Likely to Skip Fourth ED Summons, To Leave For Goa Today

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal is likely to skip the fourth summons by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today (Thursday, January 18), for questioning in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, according to party sources.

Kejriwal, who had previously skipped three summons by the probe agency, is scheduled to leave for Goa today, for a three-day tour to take stock of AAP’s preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Kejriwal’s Goa Tour

Earlier, Kejriwal was supposed to embark on a two-day tour of Goa on January 11 but had to postpone it due to preparations for the Republic Day programme in the national capital.

Kejriwal, along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Singh Mann and MPs Raghav Chadha and Sandeep Pathak will now be in Goa from January 18 till January 20, according to AAP’s Goa chief Amit Palekar.

As per Palekar, the senior AAP leaders will meet the party’s MLAs in the coastal state and other state functionaries and volunteers during their visit, which comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

AAP has two MLAs in the Goa assembly – Venzy Viegas (Benaulim) and Cruz Silva (Velim).

ED’s 4th Summons To Kejriwal

Kejriwal was issued the ED summons last week for the fourth time and asked to appear before the agency on January 18.

When asked about the ED summons asking him to appear on Thursday, the AAP national convener said, “We will do whatever needs to be done according to the law.”

On Wednesday, Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj echoed similar views.

“He is clear that whatever he will do he will do in accordance with the law and the advice of the legal counsel,” he told news agency PTI.

The 55-year-old leader had refused to depose before the ED for the third time on January 3, citing Rajya Sabha polls and Republic Day preparations.

Kejriwal had also questioned the motive behind the ED’s actions, citing legal “objections” to the summons and accusing the agency of assuming the role of “judge, jury and executioner”.

Reacting to the ED summons, AAP leader and Delhi cabinet minister Gopal Rai had alleged that the BJP is “misusing” the ED to stop Kejriwal from campaigning for Lok Sabha polls.

ED’s fourth summons on January 13 came a day after AAP announced Kejriwal’s three-day Goa tour, leading to Rai accusing the central agency of issuing its power in a bid to stop the Delhi CM from campaigning.

Why ED Summoned The Delhi CM?

The AAP convener has skipped three previous summons by ED— on November 2, December 22, and January 3 — calling them “illegal and politically motivated”.

However, the agency, according to the sources, believes that the summonses sent to Kejriwal were “well within the PMLA procedures and law”.

ED has said it wants to question the Delhi Chief Minister on the formulation of policy, meetings held before it was finalised, and allegations of bribery.

Kejriwal’s name has been mentioned multiple times in charge sheets filed by the ED in the case.

The agency has said that the accused were in touch with him regarding the preparation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

The ED had claimed in its charge sheet that the AAP used “proceeds of crime” to the tune of about Rs 45 crore in its Goa election campaign.

The agency is expected to file a fresh supplementary charge sheet in the case and may name AAP as a “beneficiary” of the alleged kickbacks that were generated through the excise policy.

It is alleged that the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge repeatedly refuted by the AAP.

The policy was subsequently scrapped and Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe, following which the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In the past, ED has also claimed that bribes generated in the excise policy were used to fund the campaign for the Goa assembly elections.

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