Delhi excise policy case: ED names Kejriwal, AAP as accused in fresh chargesheet

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal waves to supporters during a roadshow for Lok Sabha polls, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: In a major development in the Delhi excise policy case, the Enforcement Directorate on Friday filed a fresh charge sheet naming Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as accused, the first time that a sitting chief minister and a political party face money laundering charges. Official sources said the 200-page-long prosecution complaint has been filed before a special court here. Special Judge Kaveri Baweja is likely to take up the chargesheet for cognisance in the coming days.

The accused have been sought to be charged under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the sources said. They said Kejriwal has been made an accused in his personal capacity as well as the national convenor of his political outfit AAP.

The federal agency arrested 55-year-old Kejriwal from his official residence here on March 21. He is currently out of jail on interim bail.

This is the eighth charge sheet filed by the ED in this case in which it has arrested 18 people so far, made a total of 38 entities as accused and attached assets worth Rs 243 crore. Last week, a similar complaint was filed by the agency against BRS leader and former Telangana chief minister Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K Kavitha and four others.

The CM was earlier called the "kingpin and key conspirator" of the Delhi excise "scam" by the ED. It was alleged that he acted in collusion with Delhi government minister, AAP leaders and others. Additional Solicitor General S V Raju told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Kejriwal played a key role in the formulation of the now-scrapped excise policy.

"We have direct evidence that Kejriwal stayed in a seven-star hotel, whose bills were partly paid by an accused in the case," he said, adding that Kejriwal, as the national convenor of the AAP, was vicariously responsible for the alleged scam.

The ED had earlier claimed that AAP, being a political party, is defined as an association or a body of individual citizens of India under the Representation of the People Act, and hence it can be categorised as a "company" as contemplated under section 70 of the PMLA.

As Arvind Kejriwal was "in-charge of and responsible" for the said company i.e. AAP during the time of offence, he and his party "shall be deemed guilty" of offences mentioned under the anti-money laundering law and liable to be prosecuted and punished, it had said.

The excise case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped. Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities. Subsequently, the ED registered a case under the PMLA.

Taking cognisance of a CBI FIR lodged on August 17, 2022, the ED filed its money laundering case on August 22, 2022, to probe the alleged irregularities. 

(With PTI inputs)

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