ED notice to Pankaj Gupta; AAP alleges Centre targeting its leaders

As AAP leader Pankaj Gupta (R) was served an ED notice, the party alleged that the BJP was scared of increasing popularity of Arvind Kejriwal. File  

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday alleged that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent a notice to its national secretary Pankaj Gupta under a "fabricated" case under the PMLA and that the BJP-led central government was targeting its leaders as the saffron party was "rattled" by the AAP's growth and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's popularity in other states.

"In Delhi, they tried to defeat us with IT Dept, CBI, Delhi Police - but we won 62 seats. As we grow in Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Guj - we get an ED notice! The people of India want honest politics- these tactics of BJP will never succeed, they will make us stronger," Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet.

ED sources said that Pankaj Gupta is to be questioned in connection with a money laundering case being investigated against Punjab Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira and his family members.

The agency had raided Mr. Khaira's premises in March as part of its probe in a narcotics case and it had recovered documents related to some transactions that took them to Mr. Gupta, the sources said.

AAP's national spokesperson Raghav Chadha in a press conference said that in the ED notice to party's national secretary Mr. Gupta has been summoned to appear before the agency on September 22 at 11.30 AM at its office.

“In an unending quest to persecute the AAP, the Modi government's favourite agency Enforcement Directorate has been pressed into service and has dispatched a love letter (notice) to the AAP.

"They (ED) have sent a notice to party's national secretary under some section of Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002,” Mr. Chadha said.

When asked about the case in which Mr. Gupta has been served a notice, Mr. Chadha said that he has no idea but added "it must be some fabricated case".

The Rajinder Nagar MLA alleged that the BJP is rattled by the increasing popularity of the party's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and the rising graph of the party.

“When you (BJP) can't electorally assassinate us you try to character assassinate us. As soon as opinion polls show that (Mr.) Kejriwal is getting popularity, agencies like ED are pressed into service to seek political revenge and character assassinate AAP,” Mr. Chadha alleged.

Responding to allegations, Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said that the people of Delhi are fed up with such “monthly melodrama” by AAP leaders for gaining political mileage.

“Today (Monday) again we heard the rhetoric on political harassment being repeated by Aam Aadmi Party without any evidence. People know this melodrama will go on for cheap publicity till elections in five states,” Mr. Kapoor said.

However, Mr. Chadha alleged that the Modi government has pressed into service all its agencies against AAP leaders.

"In view of elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and next year in Gujarat, a rattled BJP has pressed all its agencies (ED, CBI, IT, etc) to persecute Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leaders," Mr. Chadha alleged.

He alleged that a witch-hunt against AAP by the Centre is going on.

He said that during the Anna Movement in 2012, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sent a notice under FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010) to check accounts. Mr. Chadha alleged that in past years they had sent the CBI to raid the CM office and Delhi Police to raid the CM house. CBI raided twice at the residence of deputy CM Manish Sisodia but found nothing, he alleged.

"The AAP is not going to fear these tactics. We welcome the notice. We believe in rule of law. We pray to God that rule of law should prevail over the rule of vendetta politics,"Mr. Chadha said.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 6:16:55 PM |

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