AAP claims BJP's link in Delhi excise policy case

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday raised concerns regarding the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) alleged involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.

In a press conference, AAP leader and Delhi minister Atishi accused Enforcement Directorate (ED) of arresting Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal over Aurobindo Pharma owner Sarath Chandra Reddy‘s statement. She added that Reddy, who turned approver, had changed his statement under the pressure of Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Meanwhile, Saurabh Bhardwaj stated that Reddy’s company and its two subsidiaries had donated over Rs 50 crore to BJP via electoral bonds.

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Atishi said, “In the so-called Excise Policy Scam of Delhi, CBI and ED investigations have been going on for the past two years. In these two years, a question has come up again and again – Where is the money trail? Where did the money go?”

“No proceeds of crime were recovered from any leader, minister or worker of AAP…Arvind Kejriwal was arrested in the same case two days back on the basis of the statement of just one person – Sharath Chandra Reddy. He is the owner of Aurobindo Pharma…He was summoned on 9th November 2022 for questioning. He clearly said that he never met or spoke with Arvind Kejriwal and has nothing to do with AAP. As soon as he said that, he was arrested the next day by the ED. After being in jail for several months, he changed his statement. He said that he met Arvind Kejriwal and spoke with him over the excise policy matter. He was granted bail as soon as he said that,” she further stated.

“Since the time discussion started in Supreme Court regarding the electoral bonds, BJP, SBI, central government, and Election Commission were trying not to disclose the details. However, now that it has been disclosed; it raises various serious questions,” said Bhardwaj.

A day after a Delhi court sent CM Arvind Kejriwal to the custody of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), senior AAP leaders held a press conference on the money trail in the excise policy case.

Kejriwal arrested

Delhi chief minister Kejriwal was on Friday remanded to ED custody for seven days–till March 28, a day after he was arrested by the central probe agency in connection with alleged money laundering in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

Special CBI judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court passed the order after Kejriwal was produced on Friday following his arrest after questioning on Thursday night.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Vikram Chaudhari, and Ramesh Gupta, along with counsels Rajat Bharadwaj, Mudit Jain and Mohd Irshad appeared for the Delhi CM.

ASG SV Raju and Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain appeared for the probe agency.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

Speaking to reporters after the court remanded the AAP supremo to ED custody, Atishi said her the party would explore all legal routes going forward.

“We, very respectfully and humbly disagree with the decision of the court. The ED has no proof even after 2 years of investigation… ED forced their witnesses to give statements against Arvind Kejriwal… We will explore all possible legal routes. One by one, Opposition parties are being targeted and their leaders dragged to courts. Arvind Kejriwal will remain the CM of Delhi. There is no constitutional bar on him on being the CM. He has not been convicted as yet,” she said.

Meanwhile, even as the arrest of a sitting chief minister put the BJP-led Centre in the line of Opposition fire, the AAP said it will ‘gherao’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence on March 26 to register its protest against Kejriwal’s arrest, the senior party’s leader Gopal Rai said on Friday.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

AAP leaders under ED, CBI lens

Two senior AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, are already in judicial custody in connection with the excise policy case. Sisodia, who was the deputy chief minister when the liquor policy was formulated, was arrested by the CBI on February 26 following several rounds of questioning.

On October 5, the ED arrested Sanjay Singh, a Rajya Sabha member.

Kejriwal’s arrest came days after the ED arrested Bharat Rashta Samithi (BRS) leader and daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, K Kavitha, in connection with its investigation into money laundering charges linked to the now-scrapped excise policy.

Kavitha was later remanded in ED custody till March 23.

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