Court summons Delhi CM Kejriwal on March 16 after fresh complaint by ED

Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Thursday issued summons to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on a fresh complaint by the ED for evading its summonses in a money laundering case related to the alleged excise scam, saying there were "sufficient grounds" for proceeding against him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Divya Malhotra directed Kejriwal to appear before the court on March 16.

The judge passed the order on the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) complaint seeking prosecution of Kejriwal for repeatedly evading summonses on January 12 and 31 and February 14.

The judge observed that under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the person summoned is bound to comply, and the law enables prosecution of those who don't.

“Thus, as per the mandate of the Act, the respondent/ proposed accused was legally bound to comply with the summons but allegedly he failed to do so. In view thereof, the complaint accompanied by the supporting documents discloses all the necessary ingredients constituting the offence punishable under law,” the judge said.

The judge noted that even though it was only a second ED complaint against Kejriwal with similar allegations, there was merit in the argument of the complainant that every non-compliance of the summons issued by a public servant would amount to a separate offence.

“To sum up, from the contents of the complaint and the material placed on record, prima facie offence under Section 174 of the IPC is made out and there are sufficient grounds for proceeding under Section 204 of the CrPC. Accordingly, issue summons to accused Arvind Kejriwal for the offence under Section 174 of the IPC for March 16, 2024,” the judge said.

The ED claimed in its complaint that to unearth the role of others who might be involved in the case, including that of Kejriwal, and to trace further proceeds of the crime, the investigating officer (IO) sought to examine him for which the summonses were issued.

Although a total of eight summonses were issued to Kejriwal requiring him to appear in person, the subject matter of the present complaint are the three summonses -- dated January 12 and 31 and February 14, the ED said, terming the non-compliance of each of these summonses as a separate offence and clubbed together for the purposes of the subject complaint.

“Instead of complying with the summons(es), the respondent sent ‘frivolous’ replies wherein he raised certain objections to the summons and deliberately made one or the other excuse for non-appearance to evade the processes. In this manner, he has avoided the investigation since November 2, 2023 which was the first date fixed for his appearance,” the ED said.

In his replies, Kejriwal had termed the summonses issued to him as “unsustainable in law” as they “failed to disclose the capacity in which he was being called i.e. as a witness or as a suspect or to be suffering from ‘legal deficiencies’ etc.”

The ED claimed before the court that under the law, the IO was not required to disclose the capacity in which a person was being summoned, and at the stage of investigation it would be premature on the part of the agency to label the summoned person either a witness or an accused.

“Thus, aggrieved by repeated omissions and failure to appear in compliance of the summonses, the complainant has filed the present complaint... The proposed accused has intentionally omitted to obey the summons and to attend at the place and time mentioned in the summons which intention is manifest from the objections and queries raised by him in his replies and has therefore, committed the offence,” the ED application said.

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