- Written by Sherylan Moran
- BBC News, Mumbai
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has refused to appear for questioning on corruption charges by the Financial Crimes Authority of India, saying the summons were “vague and motived”.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating cases related to the now repealed liquor policy in the state.
In his letter to the ED, Kejriwal asked it to “withdraw the summons”.
He said he must campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections and fulfill his important duties as prime minister.
Kejriwal, leader of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), had been summoned by the ED for questioning on Thursday morning.
However, minutes before he was scheduled to appear at the ED office, he released the following document: statement He said in the subpoena that it was “unclear” whether he was being called as a witness or a suspect in the case.
He also said it was unclear whether he was summoned in his capacity as the chief minister or the party’s national convener.
He added that being the party’s leader and a “star campaigner”, he had to travel for campaigning to states where parliamentary elections are scheduled in November.
Leaders of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticized Kejriwal’s comments.
Legal experts say an individual can ignore ED summons up to three times. The ED can then obtain a non-bailable warrant mandating Mr. Kejriwal’s appearance in court on a specific date.
Mr Kejriwal could be arrested if he fails to appear. Alternatively, you can challenge the subpoena in court or seek bail.
India’s top investigative agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED, have alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the liquor policy in Delhi.
The policy was implemented by the AAP government in 2021 but was withdrawn less than a year later.
Investigators allege that AAP gave preferential treatment to certain liquor distributors and used the illegal profits to fund campaign activities, but AAP strongly denies these allegations.
AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the case.
AAP accused Union government and BJP of political vendetta blamed AAP Indulging in corrupt practices for political gain.
Corruption is a sensitive issue for the Aam Aadmi Party, which was born out of a major anti-corruption movement more than a decade ago and Mr. Kejriwal has been described as an “anti-corruption crusader.”
In April, Mr. Kejriwal was interrogated for nine hours by the CBI in connection with the case. At the time, he said the entire incident was “fabricated” and designed to “destroy” the party.
AAP is trying to establish itself as the main opposition force to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power in Delhi and Punjab, is contesting elections in Goa this year, and will hold elections in three more states. It’s planned.
The CBI and ED report to the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many opposition leaders, including Kejriwal, have accused the BJP of using federal institutions to target them in the run-up to the 2024 general elections, an allegation denied by the ruling party.
Reports earlier this week said AAP is planning future steps if Kejriwal is arrested. “It will be decided by the party leadership. But if the entire party goes to jail, the government and the party will be running away from jail,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj. Said Wednesday media.
In May, the ED had arrested former Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain in a money laundering case. He is out on bail for health reasons.
The state’s former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was arrested in the liquor policy case in February, while party lawmaker Sanjay Singh was also arrested in the same case last month. They remain in jail as their bail applications were rejected by the court.
On Thursday, hours before Kejriwal was questioned, the ED searched the home of Delhi Social Welfare Minister Raj Kumar Anand and nine other locations linked to him in a separate money laundering case.
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