Noose tightens around Kejriwal in liquor excise policy case

The Enforcement Directorate has served third summons to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam while he was away in Punjab for Vipassana triggering a major political row between the BJP and the AAP. A report by Aayush Goel

The Delhi liquorgate scam case has hit headlines yet again as Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has been summoned by the ED (Enforcement Directorate) asking him to appear on January 3 in connection with the money laundering case linked to Delhi Excise policy scam. This is the third summons to Kejriwal after he skipped the previous two. The serving of summons to Kejriwal while he was away for Vipassana in Punjab has snowballed into a major political war between BJP and AAP that involves not just allegations and counter allegations but even fake viral tweets to support claims.

Kejriwal was summoned by the ED first on November 2. He skipped the summons and said he had governance-related work in Delhi ahead of  Diwali and was also scheduled to campaign for the party in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The ED issued the second summons asking him to be present on December 21. Kejriwal went to attend Vipassana a day before and skipped the second summons too. Interestingly, the third summon came on the very day when AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was denied bail. The court while denying the same said that the case against him was genuine and the evidence presented showed his involvement in the alleged money laundering.

Sanjay Singh was the second AAP leader who was arrested on October 4 in connection with the same case. The former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia was arrested in February in the liquor excise scam case and the court during hearing has extended his judicial custody till the next date of hearing on January 19, 2023.

BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra while calling Kejriwal ‘liquorgate kingpin’ said that he was using the meditation camp as a means to escape from questioning. “He should have delayed the camp but he fears he might get arrested according to his own leaders. You can do Vipassana in jail also,” said Patra.

Case politically motivated: Kejriwal

While Kejriwal remains unavailable to comment on third summons, he had filed a detailed reply to ED after receiving his second summons a day before he was to leave for his Vipassana meditation course.

“The timing of your summons leaves much to desire and strengthens my belief that the summons being sent to me are not based upon any objective or rational yardstick but for extraneous considerations at the behest of political rivals who wish to silence the voice of opposition to the ruling dispensation at the Centre to create sensational news in the final few months leading up to the Parliamentary elections in early to mid-2024. On the eve of my departure for Vipassana meditation course, which has been widely published and largely circulated all over the media in the country as well as officially announced, to my utter dismay and concern, I have received the subject summons,” Kejriwal said in his reply. He alleged that the summons appears to be a fishing and roving enquiry and claimed that this meditation was an annual feature of his life since last 25 years. Meanwhile, AAP will take legal opinion on the ED’s fresh summons to Kejriwal after he returns from his Vipassana, senior party leader Gopal Rai said. He also said that the party has extended and intensified the ongoing signature campaign ‘Main Bhi Kejriwal’ for 10 more days till December 30 asking people of Delhi if Kejriwal should resign or run government from jail in case of ‘conspired’ arrest.

Tale of a fake tweet

As the news of Kejriwal, being away for meditation while third summons were served, spread, a screenshot of X (formerly Twitter) post claiming to be shared by him in 2012 went viral on social media. According to the screenshot, Kejriwal had said, “As a patriot Indian, my head hangs in shame when our corrupt leaders do not appear before ED and CBI even after multiple summons by the investigating agencies, when they should have resigned from their posts immediately as soon as the allegations were made.” The screen shot was found to be fake but went viral after being shared by various BJP leaders like Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju, BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh and BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.