Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal skips ED summons for 5th time, calls it illegal

* Arvind Kejriwal’s Response to ED Summons:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was summoned by the ED today for questioning in the Delhi excise policy money laundering case, skipped appearing before the central probe agency, the 5th time that the Delhi CM has done so. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) multiple times, and he has chosen not to appear before the agency. He has justified his decision by calling the summons illegal and politically motivated.

. Kejriwal’s Perspective:

Kejriwal has consistently maintained that the ED’s summons are politically motivated and part of a larger strategy to harass him and his party. He has accused the central government of misusing investigative agencies for political vendettas. Kejriwal’s stance on this issue is that he is being unfairly targeted due to his vocal opposition to the ruling party at the center.

. Legal Standpoint:

From a legal perspective, the ED is within its rights to summon individuals for questioning as part of its investigative processes. However, Kejriwal has challenged the legality of these summons, claiming that they are being used as a tool for harassment rather than genuine investigation.

Kejriwal will not appear before the agency for questioning, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said.
Terming the summons “illegal”, the party said the ED is repeatedly sending notices to Kejriwal to arrest him.
The AAP also alleged that the BJP wants to topple its government in Delhi by getting Kejriwal arrested. The AAP will not let this happen, it said.

. Political Implications:

The ongoing confrontation between Kejriwal and the central government has significant political implications. It reflects the broader tensions between regional political leaders and the central authorities. Kejriwal’s refusal to comply with the ED’s summons can be seen as a form of resistance against what he perceives as unjust targeting by federal agencies.

Kejriwal skipped ED summonses for November 2 and December 21 in 2023 and January 3 and January 18 this year. He had called these notices “illegal”.
It is alleged that the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licenses to liquor traders allowed cartelization and favored certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge repeatedly refuted by the AAP.
The policy was subsequently scrapped and Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation probe, following which the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

. Public Perception:

The public perception of this situation is divided. Supporters of Kejriwal view his actions as a stand against political oppression, while critics argue that his refusal to appear before the ED raises questions about accountability and transparency.

The case is based on First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that claims there were numerous irregularities in the creation and execution of the Delhi excise policy (2021–2022). The policy was rescinded in response to accusations of corruption. The ED has stated that the AAP used kickbacks worth Rs 45 crore generated via the policy as part of its assembly elections campaign in Goa in 2022. The ED made this claim in its sixth charge sheet, which was filed on December 2, 2023, and named AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra.

. Saurabh Bharadwaj addresses crowd outside AAP office:

“For such a small post such as the mayor the country’s biggest party pulled such an unethical move,” AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said while addressing the crowd outside the AAP office. “Raise your voices loud enough so that it can reach their office nearby.”

The protest outside the AAP HQ is now gathering some steam after Delhi CM Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann joined in just moments ago. The AAP is protesting against the results of the recently held Chandigarh Mayoral polls, where the BJP had emerged victorious. The party has alleged that the polls were rigged.

In conclusion, Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to skip the ED summons for the fifth time and label them as illegal reflects his ongoing conflict with central authorities and his assertion that he is being unfairly targeted for political reasons.