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Delhi Excise Policy Case: Arvind Kejriwal Replies to ED Summons, ‘Ready to Answer’ After March 12

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal responded to the Enforcement Directorate’s summons, stating he was willing to answer its questioning in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy case via video-conferencing after March 12, according to news agency PTI, citing Aam Aadmi Party sources on Monday.

Arvind Kejriwal has so far ignored the Enforcement Directorate’s eight summonses, claiming they are unlawful and urging the agency to wait till the case is being heard in court.

Arvind Kejriwal reiterated that the summonses are “illegal” but still he was ready to answer the questions by the probe agency, the sources said.

On March 16, the Delhi Chief Minister is also scheduled to appear before a city court. The court has asked for his personal attendance in a complaint case filed by the probe agency over skipping of its summonses.

On February 27, the ED issued an eighth summons to Arvind Kejriwal in a money laundering probe related to irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22 case, asking him to join the investigation on March 4.

The new summons to the AAP national convenor followed the seventh summons, which he had ignored on February 26.

Arvind Kejriwal has skipped previous summons issued by the ED on February 26, February 19, February 2, January 18, January 3, November 2 and December 22, calling them “illegal and politically motivated”.

Why ED summoned Arvind Kejriwal?

The ED wants to record Arvind Kejriwal’s statement in the case on issues such as the formulation of excise policy, meetings held before it was finalised, and allegations of bribery.

While skipping the seventh summons issued by the ED, the AAP, in a statement, termed it “illegal”, saying that the ED should stop sending summonses and wait for the court’s decision as the probe agency has already approached the court on the matter.

ED moved Delhi court against Arvind Kejriwal

On February 3, a day after Arvind Kejriwal skipped the fifth summons issued by the ED, the agency approached a Delhi court against him for “non-compliance with the summons”.

What is the Delhi excise policy case?

The Delhi excise policy case is based on an FIR alleging multiple irregularities in the formation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The policy was withdrawn after allegations of corruption.

In its sixth charge sheet filed in the case on December 2, 2023, naming AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, the ED has claimed that the AAP used kickbacks worth ₹45 crore generated via the policy for part of its assembly elections campaign in Goa in 2022.

The excise policy was aimed to revitalize the city’s flagging liquor business and replace a sales-volume-based regime with a license fee for traders. It promised swankier stores and a better buying experience. The policy introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor for the first time in Delhi.

Lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s move to order a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime prompted the scrapping of the policy. The AAP has accused Saxena’s predecessor, Anil Baijal, of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh in jail

Two senior AAP leaders – Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh – are already under judicial custody in the case. Manish Sisodia, who was the then Delhi deputy chief minister, was arrested by the CBI on February 26 following several rounds of questioning and on October 5, the ED arrested Sanjay Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member.

(With agency inputs)

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