ED questions Kejriwal's PA, AAP MLA Pathak in the Delhi excise policy case

The 55-year-old chief minister, also the national convenor of the AAP, was arrested by the ED in this case last month. He is currently lodged in the Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

April 08, 2024 02:50 pm | Updated 02:50 pm IST - New Delhi

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Dugesh Pathak

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Dugesh Pathak | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on April 8 questioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's personal assistant Bibhav Kumar and AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, officials said.

Their statement is being recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.

Both of them have been questioned in this case earlier too by the ED.

Sources said Mr. Kumar's questioning was essential in connection with the engagements of Mr. Kejriwal. The 55-year-old chief minister, also the national convenor of the AAP, was arrested by the ED in this case last month. He is currently lodged in the Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

The agency had alleged in its earlier charge sheets that at least 36 accused, including former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Kumar, "destroyed, used or changed" 170 phones to conceal evidence of "kickbacks" worth thousands of crores of rupees in the alleged scam.

The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) of Mr. Bibhav's mobile number is stated to have been changed four times between September 2021 and July 2022, according to the ED charge sheet filed before a local court last year.

Mr. Pathak, the 35-year-old AAP MLA from Rajinder Nagar constituency, is understood to have been called by the agency for questioning in connection with the party's 2021-22 poll campaign for the Goa assembly polls.

The ED has alleged that ₹45 crore "kickbacks", out of the ₹100 crore "bribe" provided by the 'South Group', were used by the AAP for this campaign.

The agency has claimed that cash payments were made to individuals involved in campaign activities, managed by AAP members like Vijay Nair and Pathak.

The agency informed the court that it has recorded the statements of various persons engaged in the election campaign related activities of the AAP during the Goa elections and it was found that "cash payments were made to them for work like survey workers, area managers, assembly managers etc."

"These persons and activities related to the election campaign were overall managed by Vijay Nair (former AAP communications chief arrested in this case) and Durgesh Pathak, AAP MLA", the ED had said.

The excise case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the liquor policy. Subsequently, the ED registered a case under the PMLA.

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