New Delhi | A Delhi court on Wednesday asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before it on February 17 on a complaint filed by the ED for skipping summons in an excise policy-linked case and noted that prima facie the AAP chief was "legally bound" to comply.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Divya Malhotra said that Kejriwal "purportedly failed" to appear before the investigating agency Enforcement Directorate and summoned him for the offence under Section 174 of IPC (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant).
In its complaint, the ED alleged that the Delhi chief minister intentionally did not want to obey the summons and kept on giving "lame excuses." If a high-ranking public functionary like him disobeyed the law, it would "set a wrong example for the common man i.e. the Aam Aadmi,” the agency said.
“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 against accused Arvind Kejriwal...
"Accordingly, issue summons to accused Arvind Kejriwal for the offence under Section 174 of the IPC for February 17, 2024,” the judge said.
Kejriwal on Friday last (February 2) skipped the fifth summons, which the ED issued to him on Wednesday. The ED had on February 3 filed a fresh complaint case against Kejriwal for non-compliance with its summons.
“The respondent of the summonses i.e. the proposed accused was legally bound to attend in person in pursuance of the same but purportedly he failed to do so,” the judge said.
The court passed the order on the complaint, which claimed that instead of appearing in pursuant to the summons, “Kejriwal raised frivolous objections and deliberately created grounds which clearly show that he intentionally did not want to obey the summons".
He "kept on giving lame excuses which were not only frivolous but made with an intention to make out a false defence”, according to the complaint.
“The accused is a high-ranking public functionary who is expected to obey the law. If such persons holding such high officers disobey the law, then it will set a wrong example for the common man i.e. the Aam Aadmi,” the complaint claimed.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor had earlier written a letter to the ED, terming the summonses as "illegal and politically motivated". He alleged they were aimed at preventing him from campaigning in elections.
In its complaint, the ED claimed that in order to unearth the role of others, including Kejriwal, and to trace further proceeds of crime, further investigation is ongoing for which he was summoned for probe on numerous occasions.
“Instead of Arvind Kejriwal, who was legally bound to attend in person as required under the aforesaid summons at the place and time mentioned in the summons which were issued by the complainant who is a public servant, he intentionally omitted to obey the summons and intentionally omitted to attend at the place or time mentioned in the summons,” the complaint claimed.
It added that from the replies given by Kejriwal, it is manifest that his intention was to "disobey the summons and to create a false pretext to camouflage" such intention of disobedience of summons.
The agency claimed that Kejriwal “intentionally disobeyed” each summons “making each of such omission or disobedience a separate offence”.
The complaint claimed that Kejriwal committed three separate offences by intentionally omitting and failing to appear upon the summons on October 30 and December 18 and 22, last year.
It said the ED may file a separate complaint against Kejriwal for evading summons on January 12, 2024.
“Take cognisance of this complaint and issue process against the accused/respondent herein and to try and convict and sentence the accused herein/respondent herein for an offence,” the complaint urged the judge.