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AAP Major Beneficiary Of Proceeds Of Crime Generated In Excise Scam: ED Tells SC

The ED has claimed the investigation done so far has revealed a part of proceeds of crime-- cash totalling around Rs 45 crore -- was utilised in the AAP's 2022 Goa assembly poll campaign.

PTI
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal | Photo: PTI
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the "major beneficiary" of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam and has committed the offence of money laundering through its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has told the Supreme Court.

The ED has claimed the investigation done so far has revealed a part of proceeds of crime-- cash totalling around Rs 45 crore -- was utilised in the AAP's 2022 Goa assembly poll campaign.

Reacting to the ED's affidavit filed in the apex court, the AAP alleged the probe agency has become "a machine for telling lies".

In a reply affidavit filed in the top court on Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise policy scam, the ED has claimed statements of various persons engaged in the campaign related activities by AAP in Goa have revealed that cash payments were made to them for the work they did as survey workers, area managers, assembly managers etc.

"The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi liquor scam. Part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of cash of Rs 45 cr approx. has been utilised in the election campaign of AAP in Goa Assembly elections 2022," it said.

"In this manner, AAP has committed the offence of money laundering through Arvind Kejriwal and the offences thus are covered by section 70, PMLA 2002," the ED said.

Section 70 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) deals with offences by companies.

The ED said AAP is a political party comprising association of individuals registered under section 29-A of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

It said under section 29-A of the 1951 Act, only an association or body of citizens of India can make an application for registration as a political party and since AAP is an association of such individuals it got itself registered under the Act, more particularly under section 29-A.

"Since AAP is also an association of individuals, it would fall within the definition of 'company' as contemplated under section 70 of PMLA, 2002," the ED said.

It said as the national convenor of AAP and member of the national executive, Kejriwal was ultimately responsible for the funds being used in the election including their generation.

The ED claimed that Kejriwal was and is not only the brain behind the AAP but also controls its major activities. He was also involved in deciding the excise policy as is evident from the statements of the witnesses, it said.

"He is also involved in demand of kickbacks which have inter-alia generated further proceeds of crime," it said, adding that Kejriwal was in charge of and responsible for the said "company" when the alleged offence was committed.

"Therefore, not only the AAP but Arvind Kejriwal shall be deemed to be guilty of offences punishable under section 4 of PMLA and shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished as provided under section 70 of PMLA," the ED said.

Section 4 of the PMLA deals with punishment for money laundering.

The probe agency alleged that contravention of the PMLA, particularly offences punishable under section 4 of the Act, have taken place "with his knowledge and he didn't exercise at any time diligence to prevent such contravention".

"The present offence which is punishable under section 4 of PMLA is committed amongst others by AAP which is a company as defined," it said.

The ED said the offence of money laundering took place with the "consent/ connivance and or is attributable" to Kejriwal.

"Taking advantage of the fact that he was also the CM of Delhi, he used the said post to facilitate the offence of money laundering punishable under section 4 of PMLA by the 'company' i.e. AAP and therefore, without prejudice to his role and liability for the direct commission of the said offence, he is also vicariously liable for the offence committed by the AAP, being the national convenor of the said party and because of his role and active involvement in the day to day affairs and the conduct for the business of AAP," it said.

The ED has termed Kejriwal's petition challenging his arrest as "devoid of merit" and liable to be dismissed.

The ED arrested Kejriwal on March 21, hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by the federal anti-money laundering agency. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody.

On April 15, the top court sought a response from the ED by April 24 on his plea challenging his arrest in the case. The apex court is likely to take up his plea for hearing next week.

The high court had on April 9 upheld Kejriwal's arrest, saying there was no illegality about it and that the ED was left with "little option" after he skipped repeated summonses and refused to join the investigation.

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The matter pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government's now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.

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