National

Arvind Kejriwal Skips ED Summons, Joins Bhagwant Mann In Madhya Pradesh Roadshow

Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI earlier this year and subsequently by the ED in a money laundering case.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is set to skip his appearance before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today. Instead, he will be in Madhya Pradesh, which is gearing up for upcoming elections, participating in a roadshow alongside Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. The decision was confirmed by sources within the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), PTI reported. Kejriwal's absence from the ED summons follows a strongly-worded letter he sent to the agency, deeming their notice "illegal" and "politically motivated."

Six months after his nine-hour-long inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with an alleged excise policy scandal. The ED has summoned Kejriwal regarding a money laundering case related to this controversy, according to media reports

The Delhi Chief Minister's Office has released a statement in response to the ED's notice, with Kejriwal categorizing it as "illegal and politically motivated." He further claimed that the notice had been orchestrated to hinder his election campaigning efforts in the upcoming poll-bound states.

Kejriwal has also voiced suspicions that the BJP played a role in instigating the issuance of this notice.

Senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj accused the central government of trying to undermine the party by creating fake cases and attempting to imprison Arvind Kejriwal. Delhi Minister Atishi has also raised concerns about the chief minister's potential arrest, alleging it's motivated by his opposition to the BJP, rather than any concrete evidence against him.

This case has drawn criticism from other political quarters, with members of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), of which AAP is a part, condemning the summons and claiming that central agencies are being misused by the BJP-led government. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP of attempting to stifle opposition voices ahead of the upcoming elections.

In a related development, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI earlier this year and subsequently by the ED in a money laundering case. His bail plea was recently denied by the Supreme Court. Kejriwal has consistently labeled the case against him as "fabricated" and aimed at undermining the AAP.

The investigation revolves around the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22, which was subsequently scrapped. Allegations suggest that the policy favored specific liquor dealers, a claim strongly denied by the AAP. The CBI and the ED are probing these allegations, which stem from a report by the chief secretary of the Delhi government. The report cited various irregularities, including financial waivers to retail licensees and increased commissions for wholesale licensees, potentially as part of a "quid pro quo" arrangement. The Lieutenant Governor recommended a CBI probe based on these findings, leading to the ongoing investigation.

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