The Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday took cognizance of the recent complaint of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not complying with the summons issued by the central probe agency in the Delhi Liquor Policy money laundering case. This is being considered as a big blow to Arvind Kejriwal from the court.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Divya Malhotra issued summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the complaint and directed him to appear in the court on February 17.
The ED had filed a complaint against Arvind Kejriwal for non-appearance in compliance with Section 50 of PMLA.
On February 2, Kejriwal skipped the Enforcement Directorate’s summons for the fifth time in connection with the money laundering probe related to irregularities in the Delhi Liquor Policy 2021-22 case. The fresh summons to the Delhi Chief Minister came after the fourth summons, which he had not sent on January 18. Arvind Kejriwal also ignored the fifth summons, calling it “illegal” and again did not appear before the ED. Finally ED took refuge in the court.
According to ED, the agency wants to record Kejriwal’s statement in this case on issues like policy making, meetings held before finalizing it and bribery allegations.
In its sixth chargesheet filed in the case on December 2, 2023, naming AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, the ED has claimed that AAP generated Rs 45 crore through the policy as part of its assembly election campaign. Bribe worth crores of rupees was used.
The liquor policy was aimed at reviving the city’s liquor business and replacing the sales-volume-based system with license fees for traders. It promised great stores and a better shopping experience. In this policy, discounts and offers on purchase of liquor were introduced for the first time in Delhi.
Lieutenant Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena’s move to order a probe into alleged irregularities in governance forced the cancellation of the policy. The Aam Aadmi Party has also accused previous governor Anil Baijal of thwarting the move by making some last-minute changes, resulting in less revenue than expected.
In this case, two senior Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are already in judicial custody. Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26 after several rounds of interrogation. On October 5, ED had arrested Singh. Manish Sisodia has been in jail for a year and Sanjay Singh for a month. Kejriwal fears that ED may arrest him too and put him in jail.