Arvind Kejriwal Says Ready To Face Summons Virtually, Probe Agency Responds

The ED had issued an eighth summons to Mr Kejriwal on February 27, setting March 4 as the date for him to appear at the agency's headquarters.

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today responded to the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) eighth summons related to the money laundering probe concerning irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case. Despite deeming the summons as "illegal", Mr Kejriwal expressed his willingness to answer the probe agency's questions, proposing a date after March 12.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said Mr Kejriwal will attend the hearing through video conferencing. However, the probe agency is adamant about physically questioning the Delhi Chief Minister. The ED has said that there is no provision for interrogation through video conferencing. 

This move comes after the ED issued its eighth summons on February 27, setting March 4 as the scheduled date for Mr Kejriwal to appear at the agency's headquarters.

The ongoing probe revolves around alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22). The ED seeks Mr Kejriwal's statement on matters such as policy formulation and allegations of bribery.

Mr Kejriwal has previously skipped seven summonses issued by the ED, labeling them as "illegal and politically motivated." The AAP, in a statement, urged the ED to refrain from sending further summonses and await the court's decision.

The excise policy, introduced to bring an overhaul to the national capital's liquor business, promised a more modern shopping experience with discounts and offers. However, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena's order to investigate alleged irregularities prompted the policy's cancellation. The AAP accuses Mr Saxena's predecessor, Anil Baijal, of making last-minute changes that adversely affected the policy's revenue expectations.

Two prominent AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, are already under judicial custody in connection with the case. Mr Sisodia, the former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 last year, while Mr Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, was arrested by the ED on October 5.