Delhi Excise policy case: ED files charge sheet against Arvind Kejriwal, AAP

AAP says the investigating agency is functioning like a political wing of BJP

Updated - May 18, 2024 02:54 am IST

Published - May 17, 2024 06:20 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Enforcement Directorate filed prosecution complaint against the Aam Aadmi Party and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi excise policy case.

The Enforcement Directorate filed prosecution complaint against the Aam Aadmi Party and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi excise policy case. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed the seventh supplementary chargesheet in the money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy-2021-22 and named Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as accused in the case. The party and the AAP chief have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The chargesheet was filed in the court of Special Judge (PC Act) Kaveri Bawja of the Rouse Avenue court, which is scheduled for the consideration on Saturday, May 18.

This is the first time that Mr. Kejriwal and a political party have been named as an accused in the ED’s chargesheet in the excise policy case.

Reacting to the chargesheet, the AAP said the investigating agency was functioning like a political wing of the BJP.

In its remand order after the arrest of Mr. Kejriwal on March 21, the ED had alleged that the Chief Minister was the “kingpin” of the Delhi excise policy scam and added that he was directly involved in policy formulation and in handling the proceeds of crime as well. “As the Chief Minister of the Delhi government, which is run by the AAP, Arvind Kejriwal was the key conspirator in the excise policy scam,” the agency had said.

Claim on chats

The chargesheet has mentioned of having evidence that the money was sent to the AAP via “hawala” channels. It has also claimed to have found chats between Mr. Kejriwal and “hawala” operators.

On May 10, the Supreme Court allowed Mr. Kejriwal interim bail till June 1 to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.

A week ago, the ED had submitted another prosecution complaint against Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K. Kavitha and four other accused persons. Ms. Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, was arrested by the ED in Hyderabad on March 15. The ED accused her of conspiring with the top AAP leaders, including Mr. Kejriwal and the then Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, for getting favours through the tweaking and implementation of the erstwhile excise policy.

In exchange for the purported favours, she was allegedly involved in paying ₹100 crore in advance to the AAP leaders, the ED claimed.

This prosecution complaint filed by the ED is based on the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 17, 2022, against Mr. Sisodia and 14 others. It alleges that the policy extended an extraordinarily high profit margin of 12% for wholesalers and almost 185% profit margin for retailers.

‘South Group’

The agencies have accused Ms. Kavitha of being part of a “South Group” which paid ₹100 crore in advance as “kickbacks” through the then AAP communication and media in-charge Vijay Nair. Against the payment, the group partners were given 65% stakes in Indo Spirits company for the recovery of payments in future. These stakes were controlled through “false representation, concealment of true ownership and proxies”.

About ₹45 crore from the “kickbacks” was used by the AAP for the election campaign in Goa, it was alleged.

Reacting to the ED’s chargesheet, the AAP on Friday said the agency was functioning like a political wing of the BJP. Its intention from the very beginning of this “fake” investigation was to frame the AAP, arrest all its top leaders and crush the party. The ED’s chargesheet framing the AAP and Mr. Kejriwal was part of this grand political conspiracy, the party said. Now all properties and bank accounts of Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP would be seized, which would further cause huge harassment and injustice, the party said.

‘No recovery’

The AAP said this was the first case in the ED’s history where after over two years of investigation, after over 500 raids, after filing eight chargesheets, there was not a single rupee of recovery from any of the AAP leaders. The entire case of the ED was built on statements of accused-turned-approvers, all of whom had links to the BJP. Whenever the courts questioned the ED on the veracity of these statements, the agency had no answers, the party claimed. 

The AAP asserted that if at all there was any money trail recovered so far in the alleged Delhi liquor scam, it was the ₹60 crore that the kingpin of the scam, Sharath Reddy, had given to the BJP. If the ED had been doing an impartial investigation, it would have immediately arrested BJP president J.P. Nadda, and made the BJP the prime accused in the scam. But unfortunately, it was acting as a political wing and a mouthpiece of the BJP, the AAP said. 

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