Kejriwal & Kavitha in custody, ED to press for swift trial

Having arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BRS leader K Kavitha, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to push for trial in the Delhi Excise scandal after filing charge sheets against Kejriwal, Kavitha and co-accused, said people in the know.

The federal agency will soon file its prosecution complaint (equivalent of a charge sheet) against Kejriwal, Kavitha, co-accused and is likely to seek commencement of trial. Significantly, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to appear as an accused in the upcoming chargesheet, said people in the know.

In that eventuality AAP will become the first political party to be arrayed as an accused in a case of Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA). Earlier this month the ED, while seeking custodial interrogation of Kejriwal had informed the Court that AAP “committed the offence of money laundering” through Kejriwal”.

As reported by ET on January 7, ED will invoke Section 70 (1) of PMLA to make AAP an accused in the case.

As per the section: “Where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company, for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

The federal agency, in its remand paper, had alleged AAP is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi liquor scandal. Part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of ₹45 crore (appox) has been utilised in the election campaign of AAP for Goa assembly in 2022… In this manner, AAP has committed the offence of money laundering through Arvind Kejriwal and the offences are covered by Section 70 of the PMLA”.

People in the know added that the agency is likely to push for commencement of trial so that it can be concluded within a short period. “The objective is not just to keep the investigation open but to kickstart the trial so that the accused can be convicted”, said a senior government official on the condition of anonymity.

It might be mentioned here that the Supreme Court while dismissing Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s bail plea, had recorded the “assurance” given by the investigating agencies- CBI and ED- that the trial in the Delhi excise policy scandal will be concluded within six to eight months.

William Murphy

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