Wednesday, April 24, 2024

ED files complaint in court against Arvind Kejriwal for non-compliance of summons

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a fresh complaint against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal before a Delhi court seeking his prosecution for skipping its summons repeatedly in the Delhi excise policy probe, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.The fresh complaint comes after Kejriwal refused to appear before the agency on Monday for the eighth time since November 2 last year, terming the summons as “illegal” and “politically motivated”.

A senior ED officer, cited above, said “the fresh complaint under sections 174 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with section 63 (4) of prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) has been filed before the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM), Rouse Avenue Court, for non-attendance (for questioning)”.

The sections under which the fresh complaint against Kejriwal has been filed relate to non-compliance of summons issued to an individual. The court of ACMM has listed the matter for Thursday.

Earlier, a similar complaint was filed by the financial crimes probe agency on February 3. The court, at that time, took cognisance of the complaint and summoned Kejriwal. He appeared virtually before the court on February 17 and was exempted from physical appearance till March 16

The ED officials have, however, argued that the court has not granted him exemption from appearing before the investigating officer. “The question in front of the court is not about the validity of the summons rather the illegal act on part of Arvind Kejriwal of intentionally disobeying the summons,” said a second ED officer who also requested not to be named.

While refusing to appear before the agency again on Monday, Kejriwal conveyed he was ready to be questioned through video-conferencing after March 12.

The CM has alleged that the ED summons were a tool to pressure him into leaving the Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) alliance.

If the court says go, then I will go [for questioning] …They want us to break the alliance. Their message is that we should quit the alliance,” he said last week.The agency has claimed that AAP leaders were paid bribes of 100 crore in connection with the 2021-22 excise policy, which was implemented in November 2021 but scrapped months later after LG Saxena recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities in the new regime.

The now-scrapped policy was aimed to revitalise 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.

In one of its six charge sheets, ED claimed that the excise policy was Kejriwal’s “brainchild” though he has not been named as an accused in any of them.

ED files complaint in court against Arvind Kejriwal for non-compliance of summons


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