Excise case: Court reserves order on cognisance of ED charge sheet against Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow in favour of AAP candidate Gurmeet Singh Khuddian for Lok Sabha elections, in Bathinda, Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow in favour of AAP candidate Gurmeet Singh Khuddian for Lok Sabha elections, in Bathinda, Sunday, May 26, 2024.

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved for June 4 its order on whether to take cognisance of the Enforcement Directorate’s supplementary charge sheet against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case linked to the alleged excise scam.

The court will also decide whether to take note of the alleged offence against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the first political party which has been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED.

The supplementary charge sheet has also claimed that bribes were received even from Punjab businessmen to allow them to invest in liquor trade in the national capital.

The Enforcement Directorate has claimed those businessmen from Punjab, also ruled by the AAP, who did not pay up, were forced out of their ventures in the neighbouring state.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja reserved the order after hearing the arguments advanced by the ED, which claimed it has sufficient evidence to prosecute Kejriwal in the case.

The federal anti-money laundering agency told the court that Kejriwal, the national convenor of AAP, and the party were inextricably linked to the alleged scam.

Arvind Kejriwal is the "kingpin and key conspirator" of the scam, which also involves other AAP leaders and private individuals, the ED has alleged.

It has alleged that Kejriwal was actively linked to the proceeds of crime, including using it for the AAP's campaign for the Goa assembly elections in 2022.

The ED has claimed before the court that officials of the Punjab excise department received bribes from traders in that state to facilitate their investments in liquor businesses in Delhi.

"Certain stakeholders who were willing to invest but were not ready to accept the demands by accused persons were chucked out. There were some wholesalers in Punjab who didn't agree to pay up and were then forced to go out of the business," the ED told the court.

It alleged that co-accused and former AAP media in-charge Vijay Nair had nothing to do with the excise department but "he was going around saying that he can get favourable provisions (for prospective investors) in exchange for funds for AAP."

"He was living in a bungalow close to the CM residence. He was reporting directly to Kejriwal. He was always found at CM residence. He had no business meeting individuals (on behalf of) the Delhi government," the ED told the court.

Nair, who Kejriwal endorsed as his "man", was going around asking for favours from investors by way of party funds, the ED alleged.

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