The Enforcement Directorate summoned Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party president Arvind Kejriwal at 11 a.m. today in the alleged liquor policy fraud. Mr Kejriwal, according to the AAP, may be arrested.
Here are some key aspects of this massive story:
- The ED called the Delhi Chief Minister on Monday, hours after the Supreme Court rejected the bail petition of his former deputy, Manish Sisodia, who is the main accused in the case. According to the judges, a 338 crore money trail has been tentatively established.
- Mr Kejriwal was questioned in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation in April, and this is the first time he has been called by the ED.
- Following the summons, top AAP leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj stated, “The Central government has only one goal: to destroy the Aam Aadmi Party at any cost.” They are going to any length to do this, even fabricating a false case. The plan is to imprison Arvind Kejriwal and destroy the Aam Aadmi Party.”
- Mr Bharadwaj alleged in an exclusive interview with NDTV on Tuesday that Mr Kejriwal will be detained by the central agency. When asked if the party had a backup plan in place if this happened, he replied, “As of now, I don’t know, and I don’t think there’s any discussion about it.” Kejriwal is our leader, and we will follow his path.”
- Delhi Minister Atishi also made claims regarding the chief minister’s possible arrest, saying he will be brought into prison following interrogation. She said that this would happen not because the agency had evidence against him, but because he had spoken out against the BJP.
- The AAP is a member of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), and numerous members of the alliance have slammed the summons, saying it is an additional example of the BJP-led government’s abuse of central agencies.
- On the subject, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee remarked on Wednesday, “Before next year’s elections, they (the BJP) are attempting to muzzle the voice of all opposition parties.” They intend to arrest all opposition leaders before to the polls so that they may vote for themselves in an empty country… they are plotting a plot.”
- Mr Kejriwal, if arrested, will be the AAP’s third top leader to be detained in connection with the liquor policy matter. Mr Sisodia was detained in February, while Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was arrested last month. Last year, Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain was also detained in a money laundering case.
- The BJP, in response to the AAP’s charges, stated that the AAP was “finishing itself off” with its “scams, corruption, and misdeeds.” It further stated that without Mr Kejriwal’s agreement, a “massive scam” like the liquor policy issue could not have occurred. According to the party, the central agencies are functioning independently and the legal procedure is being followed.
- The CBI case is based on the involvement of liquor corporations in formulating the excise policy, which would have resulted in a 12% profit. It has been reported that a liquor lobby received bribes. The Enforcement Directorate is looking into the suspected kickback laundering.