New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal for questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to the Delhi Excise Policy. Kejriwal has been asked to appear before the ED on November 2 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has mentioned Kejriwal’s name several times in its charge sheets filed in the case, alleging that he was involved in the framing and implementation of the excise policy that allowed private firms to enter the retail liquor sector in Delhi. The ED has claimed that the policy resulted in illegal benefits to some ineligible people and caused a loss of Rs 338 crore to the public exchequer.
The CBI had also registered a corruption case against Kejriwal and his former deputy Manish Sisodia in February this year, accusing them of abusing their official positions and causing undue favors to some liquor suppliers. The CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26 and later the ED arrested him on March 9 in a related money laundering case.
Kejriwal and Sisodia have denied any wrongdoing and have said that the excise policy was aimed at increasing the revenue of the Delhi government and curbing the liquor mafia. They have also alleged that the central agencies are targeting them for political reasons.
The Delhi government implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but canceled it at the end of September 2022 amid corruption allegations. According to the investigating agencies, under the new policy, the profit margin of wholesalers was increased from five percent to 12 percent.
This development comes at a time when the Supreme Court on Monday rejected the bail pleas of Sisodia in both the corruption and money laundering cases related to the excise policy scam. The apex court said that there were some doubtful aspects in the case and that Sisodia could apply for bail again after three months if there were a delay in the trial. Sisodia has been in custody for over seven months and resigned from the Delhi Cabinet on February 28.