On Wednesday, the Rouse Avenue Court heard the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) latest charge against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for failing to comply with the central probe agency’s summons in the Delhi liquor policy money laundering case.
Divya Malhotra, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, took cognizance of the case and summoned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear in court on February 17.
The ED filed a new complaint case on Saturday under sections 190 (1)(a) and 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 174 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 63 (4) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for non-compliance with Section 50 of the PMLA.
On February 2, Kejriwal ignored the Enforcement Directorate’s summons for the seventh time in connection with the money laundering investigation into irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22 case. The new summons to the Delhi Chief Minister follows the fourth summons, which he ignored on January 18.
The party claimed that omitting the fifth summons was “unlawful.”
Kejriwal has so far ignored four earlier summons issued by the ED on January 18, January 3, November 2, and December 22, claiming they were “illegal and politically motivated.”
According to the ED, the agency wants to record Kejriwal’s statement in the case about policy formation, discussions held before it was completed, and charges of bribery.
The ED alleged in its sixth charge sheet filed in the case on December 2, 2023, citing AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, that the AAP used kickbacks worth Rs 45 crore generated under the scheme as part of their Goa assembly election campaign in 2022.
The excise policy was designed to revitalize the city’s struggling liquor industry by substituting a sales-volume-based system with a license charge for merchants. It promised swankier stores and an improved shopping experience. For the first time in Delhi, the policy included discounts and special offers on booze purchases.
The initiative was scrapped after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena ordered a review into alleged regime irregularities. The AAP accuses Saxena’s predecessor, Anil Baijal, of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute tweaks that resulted in lower-than-expected income.
Two prominent AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, are already in judicial detention in the case.
The CBI arrested Sisodia, the then Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister, on February 26 after multiple rounds of questioning. On October 5, the ED arrested Singh, a Rajya Sabha member.