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ED issues eighth summons to Kejriwal after Delhi CM gives previous seven a miss

A city court, approached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over Kejriwal skipping its summonses, has directed the chief minister to appear before it on March 16.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 08:54 IST

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the eighth time in three months asking him to appear before the investigators in connection with a money laundering case linked to the controversial Delhi excise policy.

He had refused to appear before the investigators on Monday and honour the seventh summons. Officials said he has now been asked to depose on March 4 at the agency's headquarters here.

The issuance of the eighth notice came days after the AAP and Congress inked a seat sharing arrangement for Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Chandigarh and Haryana while deciding to fight against each other in Punjab.

Responding to the ED action, senior AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said, "Sending summons, again and again shows that the BJP and ED cannot even wait for the hearing in the court. A reply is given for the summons sent by the ED but they do not provide any response. All they do is keep sending summons."

Senior BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said, "If someone is questioned in a case, and the one who is accused thinks that he cannot give answers, it proves that he is guilty and is accepting it. I am surprised why the ED is giving so many chances to Kejriwal."

The ED had earlier rejected Kejriwal's contention that the matter of his appearance is sub-judice before a local court. The agency has insisted that it has the right to summon him while arguing that the case is about his non-appearance and not about the validity of the summons issued to him.

The AAP chief was summoned on November 2 and December 21 in 2023, and then later on January 3, January 18, February 2 and 17 this year, but he refused to appear before it, claiming that the ED summons were illegal.

The ED had in court claimed that Kejriwal intentionally disobeyed each summons, which were issued as part of a probe into the money laundering case linked to irregularities in the now scrapped Delhi excise police.

On February 17, the first day of hearing of the ED case, the court gave Kejriwal exemption not to appear in person on that while posting the case for March 16. The court also said that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against Kejriwal after examining the material placed on record by the ED.

In his letters to ED earlier, Kejriwal has said that the agency's summons was not in consonance with law and sent for "extraneous considerations" at the behest of ruling BJP to create "sensational news" in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Though not named as an accused in the charge sheet, Kejriwal's name has been mentioned multiple times. The ED had claimed that the accused were in touch with the Chief Minister regarding the preparation of the excise policy.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh among others were arrested in this case by the ED. 

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(Published 27 February 2024, 08:54 IST)

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