Approver in Delhi liquor policy case is BJP’s star donor, says AAP

AAP seeks arrest of BJP leaders, including Nadda, as the party, through ED, threatened businessman Sarath Chandra Reddy to give pre-dictated statements against AAP leaders and also got ₹59.5 crore from him through electoral bonds

March 23, 2024 11:42 am | Updated 10:16 pm IST - New Delhi

Atishi. File

Atishi. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on March 23 demanded that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) make the BJP an accused in the Delhi liquor policy case as the money trail that the agency has been looking for has been found and it leads to the coffers of the BJP in the form of electoral bonds. Hence the ED should arrest top BJP leaders, including party president J.P. Nadda, the AAP said

Addressing a press conference, senior AAP leader Atishi said the entire case against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is based on the statements of “accused-turned-approvers” and one such person is Sarath Chandra Reddy who went from being the “kingpin” of the alleged Delhi liquor scam when he was arrested to “star approver” and subsequently a “star donor” of the BJP.

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Ms. Atishi said that for the last two years, the ED and the CBI had been investigating the fake Delhi liquor scam, conducting over 500 raids and questioning over 1,000 witnesses but did not find a single piece of evidence or recovery of money to show any wrongdoing by the AAP or its Ministers. However, in its remand application on Saturday for the arrest Mr. Kejriwal, the ED’s lawyer read out the statement of their prime witness and approver, Sarath Chandra Reddy, who said he was a part of the ‘South Group’ that paid bribes to obtain liquor business in Delhi.

“There is no evidence, it is only a statement. It was only on the basis of this statement that the ED got remand of Mr. Kejriwal for six days. It is important to understand who Mr. Reddy is and how the money trail leads to the BJP as it is Mr. Reddy’s company that bought bonds and donated money to the BJP exposing the money trail,” Ms. Atishi said.

Presenting a chronology of what happened, the AAP said that Mr. Reddy went from being a star “approver” to a “star BJP donor” within 12 months by donating a total of ₹59.5 crore to the BJP of which 92% or ₹55 crore came after his arrest and the rest during the period when the Delhi liquor policy was in force. “The ED that has been denying bail to accused in the case suddenly decided not to oppose the bail of Mr. Reddy who said that he was suffering from backache. Immediately after his release, Aurobindo Pharma of which Mr. Reddy is a director, and other associate companies bought electoral bonds to donate to the BJP,” Ms. Atishi said.

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“Electoral bonds have revealed that the trail of money from the Delhi excise policy does exist and does not lead back to the AAP but to the BJP, and therefore Mr. Nadda should be called for questioning by the ED and arrested in the same way Mr. Kejriwal was. The BJP through ED threatened Mr. Reddy to give pre-dictated statements against AAP leaders, which were read out in the Rouse Avenue court yesterday [Friday] to get the remand of CM Arvind Kejriwal, and on the other hand it did a vasooli [recovery] of ₹59.5 crore from the same businessman through electoral bonds into its own accounts,” Ms. Atishi said.

Also speaking at the press conference, senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said this case will go down in history as how the BJP thought it will get away with its crime, but the Supreme Court intervened and got electoral bond data to be published in public domain. “This is not an allegation, it is an open-and-shut case with the corruption money traced right to the bank accounts of BJP through recently released data on electoral bonds,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

He added that the entire Delhi liquor scam is not just fake, it is a grand conspiracy to trap AAP leaders while at the same time use the proceeds of crime under the Delhi excise policy to fill the coffers of BJP.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur, on being asked for a reaction to the allegations during a press conference, declined to comment. 

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