Highlights

  • ED summons Delhi CM for fourth time
  • Kejriwal likely to visit Goa instead
  • AAP chief has skipped summons thrice

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Kejriwal may skip ED summons for a fourth time in the Delhi excise policy case

AAP sources have told PTI that Kejriwal is unlikely to appear before ED as he is scheduled to leave for Goa on a three-day tour.

Kejriwal may skip ED summons for a fourth time in the Delhi excise policy case

With the ED asking him to appear for questioning on Thursday after he skipped summons thrice in the Delhi excise policy case, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said here he will do whatever needs to be done as per law.

Sources in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Delhi government, however, said on Wednesday that he is unlikely to appear before the agency as he is scheduled to leave for Goa on a three-day tour to take stock of party's preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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

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

At an event, where he interacted with elderly pilgrims leaving for Dwarkadheesh in Gujarat, the AAP national convener was asked about the ED summons asking him to appear on Thursday in connection with the Delhi excise policy linked money laundering case.

"We will do whatever needs to be done according to the law," he told reporters, in response to the query.

Earlier in the day, Delhi cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj had 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 PTI-Video.

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 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.

Rai had questioned the timing of the Enforcement Directorate's summons to Kejriwal, saying it came ahead of his Goa tour from January 18.

Earlier, the chief minister was asked to appear on November 2 and December 21, 2023, but skipped the summons.

The agency, according to the sources, believes that the summonses sent to Kejriwal were "well within the PMLA procedures and law".

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).

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