Arvind Kejriwal says ED summons politically motivated and illegal, goes for Vipasana meditation

Kejriwal was summoned by the ED on 2 November but he skipped the questioning alleging the notice was illegal and politically motivated.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 21, 2023 | 1:09 PMUpdatedDec 21, 2023 | 1:09 PM

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has replied to the ED summons, calling them illegal and politically motivated, AAP sources said on Thursday, 21 December.

Kejriwal was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the excise policy-linked money laundering case on Thursday. However, he left for an undisclosed location for a 10-day Vipassana meditation course on Wednesday, 20 December.

“Kejriwal called the fresh summons politically motivated and illegal. In his reply, he said that he has lived his life through transparency and honesty and has nothing to hide. He said he is ready to accept any legal summons,” sources said, citing his reply.

Related: ED summons CM Arvind Kejriwal for questioning

Scheduled Vipassana course

Kejriwal was scheduled to leave for the Vipassana course on Tuesday, 19 December, but could not do so as he was busy with the INDIA bloc meeting. He left around 1.30 pm on Wednesday for the pre-scheduled meditation course, officials said.

The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday questioned the timing of the summons, saying the party’s lawyers are studying the notice and “legally correct” steps will be taken.

They said Kejriwal’s Vipassana session was “pre-scheduled” and the information was in the public domain.

“Everyone knows the chief minister is leaving for Vipassana on December 19. He regularly goes for this meditation course. It’s a pre-scheduled and pre-announced plan,” AAP MP Raghav Chadha had said.

Earlier, Kejriwal was summoned by the ED on 2 November but he skipped the questioning alleging the notice was illegal and politically motivated.

Also read: Arvind Kejriwal skips ED summons

Mention of Kejriwal’s name

The ED has claimed in one of the charge sheets that it has recorded the statement of Buchibabu, an accountant allegedly linked to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, in which he said “there was political understanding between K Kavitha and the chief minister (Kejriwal) and (former) deputy chief minister (Manish Sisodia). In that process, K Kavitha also met Vijay Nair (AAP communications in-charge arrested in the case) on 19-20 March, 2021”.

In an another instance involving arrested accused Dinesh Arora, the ED said he told the agency that he had met Kejriwal once at his residence.

Similarly, the ED charge sheet said YSRCP MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy also held meetings with Kejriwal, wherein the AAP leader welcomed his entry into the Delhi liquor business.

It had said Buchibabu and another accused, Arun Pillai, have revealed that they and Nair were working with the “support and sanction” of Kejriwal and Sisodia for all the excise policy-related activities, including its formulation and implementation.

It had also alleged that Nair “arranged a video call through Facetime (a video-calling facility on iPhone) for another arrested accused, Sameer (Mahendru), and Arvind Kejriwal, where Arvind said to Sameer that Vijay is his boy and that Sameer should trust him and carry on with him”.

Related: HC dismisses bail plea of Manish Sisodia

Delhi excise policy scam

The central agency had summoned Kejriwal for questioning in the alleged Delhi excise policy case and recorded his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act PMLA.

Kejriwal’s party colleagues, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are in judicial custody in this case.

The AAP had alleged that Kejriwal would be the first to be arrested as part of the BJP’s plan to target top INDIA bloc leaders ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the ED summons were an attempt to finish the party that is in power in Delhi and Punjab.

It is alleged that the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge repeatedly refuted by the AAP.

The policy was subsequently scrapped, and the Delhi lieutenant governor recommended a CBI probe, following which the ED registered a case under the PMLA.

(With PTI inputs)