Probe Agency’s Liquor Policy Kickback Charge In Court, “Lies”, Says AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party has spent Rs 45 crore on the election in Goa and there is enough evidence that party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was involved in money laundering, the Enforcement Directorate told the Delhi High Court today, hours after the Supreme Court remarked on its failure to produce evidence of a money trail and gave bail to senior party leader Sanjay Singh. AAP rubbed in the top court’s comments, calling the agency’s allegation a “lie”.

“The ED just lies. The Supreme Court said no money trail was found, and no money was found. The ED could not provide a shred of evidence in the Supreme Court. It is working at the behest of BJP, which wants to topple Delhi government at any cost,” read a rough translation of AAP’s statement in Hindi.

This is the first time the Central investigation agency made its allegations on Goa official, including it in its response to Mr Kejriwal’s challenge to his arrest.

Along with challenging his arrest in the case, Mr Kejriwal has also demanded release as interim relief. The matter would be heard by the court tomorrow.

Calling AAP the “major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi Liquor Scam”, the ED claimed, “Part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of cash of Rs. 45 crore approx. has been utilised in the election campaign of AAP in Goa Assembly elections 2022”.

The agency also questioned Mr Kejriwal’s objections, arguing that he has waived his right to question his detention today, and cannot now be allowed to argue that it is illegal.

Moreover, proper procedures under Section 16 of PMLA and Article 22 of the Constitution were strictly followed during his arrest, the agency has claimed.

The section empowers the ED to arrest anyone on basis of material in their possession that indicate s/he has committed an offence punishable under law. The agency is allowed to record its reasons for such belief in writing, with the grounds of arrest to be communicated to the accused “as soon as may be”.

In his plea, Mr Kejriwal has said that he was arrested by ED despite the fact that they do not have any material in possession that may lead to a belief of his guilt. The provisions of PMLA are being used to persecute and destroy the fabric of the democratic and federal structures, he said. “The attempt is to decimate a political party and topple an elected government of the NCT of Delhi,” the plea read.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court gave bail to senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh, asking why he had been jailed for over six months without a trial or recovery of alleged bribe of Rs 2 crore.

The judges questioned the lack of evidence to support ED’s claim that the party received Rs 600 crore in bribe. “Nothing has been recovered… there is no trace (of money allegedly received by the AAP as bribes for allotting liquor licences to the ‘South Group’),” the judges said.

“The court asked where the money trail was. A search for that money trail has been on for the last two years. Today, when the court asked, the Enforcement Directorate had no answer,” Delhi minister and senior AAP leader Atishi told reporters after Sanjay Singh got bail.

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