A Delhi court has called upon Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear on February 17 and elucidate his absence from five summonses issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding an investigation into suspected money laundering connected to the liquor excise policy scandal in the capital.
Last week, the federal investigative agency filed a fresh complaint against Mr. Kejriwal for disregarding its summons. The leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ignored the fifth summons on February 2.
Mr. Kejriwal had previously abstained from the January 19 summons, denouncing the ED notices as unlawful amid accusations from the AAP and other opposition parties that the agency, acting under the directives of the BJP-led central government, was targeting political adversaries ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
The AAP leader also missed summons on November 2, December 21, and January 31, citing prior obligations, including campaigning for the Madhya Pradesh election and attending a meditation retreat.
Although interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last April for nine hours in the same case, Mr. Kejriwal has not been formally charged. He has criticized the CBI’s questioning, alleging a lack of evidence.
However, two prominent AAP members, including former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, have faced arrests – Mr. Sisodia in February last year and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in October.
The liquor excise case centers on allegations that the AAP government’s revised alcohol sales policy of 2022 enabled kickbacks from cartels, allegedly used to finance election expenditures in Goa and other states. The AAP has vehemently denied these accusations, citing a significant revenue boost for the Delhi government from the policy and asserting manipulation by the BJP to use central agencies against them.