Kejriwal skips fourth summons from ED in Delhi excise policy case

Aam Aadmi Party chief claims these repeated summons are being sent to stop him from campaigning for the Lok Sabha election; party sources say he has sent a written response to the agency for his absence

Updated - January 18, 2024 11:12 pm IST

Published - January 18, 2024 03:19 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during an award ceremony in New Delhi on January 18, 2024.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during an award ceremony in New Delhi on January 18, 2024. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped the fourth summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the agency on Thursday for questioning in connection with the Delhi excise policy case and termed it as “illegal” and a “political conspiracy”. He had skipped all three previous summons issued by the probe agency.

“All four notices sent to me [by the ED] are illegal and invalid in the eyes of the law. Whenever such general, non-specific notices were sent by the ED in the past, they were quashed and declared invalid by courts. These notices are being sent as part of a political conspiracy,” Mr. Kejriwal told reporters.

Also Read | Delhi excise policy case | BJP trying to stop Arvind Kejriwal from campaigning for Lok Sabha polls: AAP on ED summons

‘Fake allegations’

The AAP supremo said that inquiry into the case has been going on for two years based on “fake” allegations, but the ED has found no proof so far.

“BJP leaders are saying that Kejriwal will be arrested. How do BJP leaders know that I will be arrested? It is because the BJP is running the ED. All these summons are being sent to stop Kejriwal from campaigning for the Lok Sabha election,” he said.

On Thursday, Mr. Kejriwal attended a Delhi government event and left for Goa in the afternoon for Lok Sabha election-related work. He has also sent a written response to the ED, according to party sources.

He was first summoned by the ED on November 2, but he did not appear for questioning and wrote to the agency that the summons was “unsustainable in law” and “motivated.”

The AAP chief was summoned for the second time to appear before the ED on December 21, but he left Delhi on December 20 for a 10-day Vipassana meditation session in Punjab and instead wrote to the investigative agency that the summons was at the behest of his political rivals and not in consonance with law. Terming the summons a “propaganda”, he requested the agency to withdraw the summons.

He was summoned for the third time on January 3 and skipped it too reiterating that the summons was “motivated” and seemed to be a “fishing exercise”.

The case against the AAP supremo is based on a First Information Report (FIR) alleging multiple irregularities in the formation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The policy was withdrawn after allegations of corruption.

But following a summons by the CBI, Mr. Kejriwal appeared before the agency on April 16 and he was questioned for nine hours. Speaking to the media after the questioning, the Chief Minister had alleged that the entire case was fabricated and agencies had no proof, and the case was built to bring the AAP down.

Two senior AAP leaders — Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh — are already under judicial custody in the case. Mr. Sisodia, who was the then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023 following several rounds of questioning and on October 5 last year, the ED arrested Mr. Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member.

Running away: BJP

Condemning the Chief Minister for “running away from the summons”, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said Mr. Kejriwal is fearing, avoiding and hiding from the ED summons and has again gone out of Delhi today giving reason to believe that he is running away from the investigation.

This constant evasion of the summons is an admission of guilt in its own right, Mr. Sachdeva claimed.

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