In a daring move that has caught the attention of the nation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has decided to challenge the authority of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by refusing to appear before them and instead writing a “Take Back Notice” to the probe agency.
Kejriwal claims that the notice is “not legal and politically motivated,” and has accused the ED of acting at the behest of the BJP.
This bold move has once again put the spotlight on the ongoing Delhi liquor policy case and has sparked a political debate about corruption and misuse of power.
The Controversy Surrounding the Notice
The ED had summoned Arvind Kejriwal to appear before them in relation to the Delhi liquor policy case. However, the Chief Minister refused to comply and instead wrote a letter to the probe agency, demanding that they take back the summons.
In his letter, Kejriwal accused the ED of acting illegally and claimed that the notice was politically motivated.
He further alleged that the BJP was behind the ED’s actions and that the central probe agency had arrested his former deputy, Manish Sisodia, at their behest.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), to which Kejriwal belongs, has also raised concerns about the motive behind the ED’s actions.
They believe that the central government is attempting to arrest Kejriwal in a politically motivated case.
The party’s leaders argue that the case against them gained momentum after the Supreme Court rejected Sisodia’s bail request, citing a tentative money trail of ₹338 crore.
This money is believed to be the earnings of private parties who obtained liquor licenses under the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The ED considers these earnings to be proceeds of crime.
Political Backlash and Counterarguments
Following Kejriwal’s decision to challenge the ED’s authority, the BJP has hit back, accusing the AAP of indulging in corruption.
The BJP spokesperson, Shehzad Poonawalla, dismissed Kejriwal’s claim that the notice was politically motivated and pointed to the Supreme Court’s denial of bail to Sisodia as evidence against the AAP.
Poonawalla stated that even the Congress had accused the Kejriwal government of corruption, undermining the Chief Minister’s allegations.
Meanwhile, Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj criticized the ED’s actions, arguing that they were acting without regard for the rule of law.
He highlighted the lack of court oversight in the probe agency’s summoning process, likening it to colonial-era police raids without warrants.
Bharadwaj questioned when the ED would initiate similar actions against BJP leaders who have faced corruption allegations. He called for fairness and equal treatment under the law.
The Allegations Against AAP Leaders
The controversy surrounding the Delhi liquor policy case revolves around allegations of corruption against top AAP leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal.
The party had framed a new liquor sale policy, which was subsequently scrapped after the Delhi Chief Secretary raised concerns about potential rule violations in July 2022.
Following the Chief Secretary’s report, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the matter.
So far, two senior AAP leaders have been taken into custody in relation to the liquor policy case. Manish Sisodia, former Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested in February, while Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh faced a similar fate last month.
Satyendar Jain, a Delhi Minister, had also been arrested in a money laundering case last year. These arrests have further fueled speculation and allegations of corruption against the AAP leaders involved.