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CM Kejriwal likely to skip ED’s 9th summons, moves Delhi HC for protection

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New Delhi, March 21

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to skip Enforcement Directorate’s ninth summons issued in connection with the now-scrapped excise policy case, said the AAP sources.

This decision comes after he submitted a fresh plea to the Delhi High Court, requesting the court to instruct the ED to refrain from taking “coercive action” against him regarding the summonses issued in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

Delhi Minister and AAP leader Atishi said that CM Kejriwal has approached the high court, appealing for protection against coercive measures.

“At present, CM is willing to participate in the ED investigation and extend full cooperation to the agency. However, we believe that the ED’s intentions are more political than investigative, serving as a tool for the BJP. It appears that the ED’s aim is to summon Arvind Kejriwal only to subsequently arrest him,” Atishi remarked.

“If the ED genuinely seeks an investigation, they should assure in court that they will not arrest Arvind Kejriwal,” she said, adding that ED just wants to arrest the CM.

Last week, ED issued ninth summons to Kejriwal in excise policy case, asking him to appear before it on Thursday.

The CM, who was to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday on the ninth summons, has moved the court for no coercive action, saying there is a clear intent to arrest him and he won’t appear before the agency.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain had, on Wednesday, asked CM Kejriwal as to why he doesn’t appear in response to the summons.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal, in response, said that he is not running away and will appear, provided he is granted protection and a “no coercive steps” order in his favour.

Moreover, the court had asked the ED to reply on maintainability of Kejriwal’s plea challenging the agency’s nine summonses issued to him.

The bench put up the matter for hearing on April 22.

The bench had asked the federal agency to file its reply in two weeks’ time and granted CM Kejriwal one week to file a rejoinder.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG), SV Raju, appearing for the ED, had argued that the AAP National Convenor’s petition is not maintainable, seeking additional time to file a detailed response on the issue.

However, Singhvi contended that one of the issues raised in the plea was whether a political party is covered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the same is not defined under the enactment.

In response, Singhvi said that his client is not running away and will appear, provided he is granted protection and a “no coercive steps” order in his favour.

Addressing Singhvi’s concerns, the court had noted that traditionally, the ED does not resort to arrests immediately, allowing individuals to present their case.

Singhvi had then cited the arrests of fellow AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, citing the urgency and seriousness of CM Kejriwal’s request for protection.

CM Kejriwal’s plea also seeks to declare Section (2) (s) of PMLA as unconstitutional and arbitrary insofar that it is construed to include a political party within its ambit and sweep.

“The ED cannot proceed on an assumption that a ‘political party’ would be covered under the expression ‘artificial juridical person’ occurring in Section 2(1)(s) in PMLA and, therefore, the issuance of summons in terms of Section 50 thereof to the office bearers of political party are non-est, blatantly illegal, arbitrary and cannot sustain the test of law or reasonableness,” the plea states.

On March 16, a magisterial court granted bail to CM Kejriwal in complaints filed by the ED over non-compliance with the agency’s summons issued to him in connection with the money laundering case related to the now-scrapped excise policy case. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra of Rouse Avenue Court granted the Chief Minister relief on a bail bond of Rs 15,000 and a surety of Rs 1 lakh.

The ED which said its investigation into the Delhi excise policy scam case found BRS leader K. Kavitha conspired with the top AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his then deputy Manish Sisodia, for getting favours, has also revealed that out of proceeds of crime generated, assets worth Rs 128.79 crore have been traced and attached so far.

“In exchange for these favours, she was involved in paying Rs 100 crore to the leaders of AAP. By the acts of corruption and conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, a continuous stream of illegal funds, in the form of kickbacks from the wholesalers, was generated for the AAP,” a senior ED official said.

The official said that Kavitha and her associates were to recover the proceeds of crime paid in advance to the AAP and to further generate profits/proceeds of crime from this entire conspiracy.

“Till date, the ED has conducted searches on 245 locations across the country including Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and other places. 15 persons including Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Vijay Nair from AAP have been arrested in the case so far,” said the official.

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