Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today, November 2, in a money laundering case related to Delhi’s old excise policy. On Monday, after the bail of AAP leader Manish Sisodia was rejected in this case, the Enforcement Directorate had asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear on November 2.
Leaders of Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi – Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh have been arrested in the case related to Delhi Liquor Policy. ED has mentioned Kejriwal’s name several times in its charge sheets filed in this case.
CBI had already interrogated Kejriwal in April this year regarding the liquor policy of Delhi government. But Kejriwal was not made an accused in the CBI FIR. Now that ED has summoned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Wednesday Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi government minister Atishi has expressed apprehension that he may be arrested.
He said, “News are coming from all sides that when they call him on November 2, the ED will arrest him and put him in jail.” Meanwhile, party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj says that the central government wants to destroy the Aam Aadmi Party.
On the other hand, Raghav Chadha said in a press conference that Arvind Kejriwal is not the last name in the list of targets through ED, after him the central government will also target the Chief Ministers and big leaders of some states.
Controversy over Delhi’s new Liquor excise policy
The Delhi government had implemented a new excise policy (Excise Policy 2021-22) in November 2021. After the implementation of the new excise policy, Delhi’s liquor business came into private hands. All the liquor shops had gone into private hands.
The Delhi government had argued that this would increase the revenue from this business. This policy of Delhi government has been in controversies since the beginning. But when this controversy escalated, the government rejected the new policy and once again implemented the old policy in July 2022.
The controversies started with the report sent by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to Lieutenant Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena, Economic Offenses Wing New Delhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. This report was sent on July 8, 2022.
In this, Sisodia, being in-charge of the Excise Department, has been accused of earning revenue through fraudulent means through the new excise policy without the approval of the Lieutenant Governor. It was reported in the report that companies were given a rebate of Rs 144.36 crore in license fees.
According to the report, during Corona, liquor sellers approached the Delhi government for waiver of license fee. The government gave a discount of 24.02 percent in license fee from December 28 to January 27.
Moreover, this gave undue benefit to the licensee, while the government exchequer suffered a loss of approximately Rs 144.36 crore.
Whereas according to officials, before any change in the implemented policy, the Excise Department has to first send it to the Cabinet and then to the Lieutenant Governor for permission. Any change made without the permission of the Cabinet and the Lieutenant Governor will be considered illegal.