Kejriwal reaches CBI headquarters to answer questions on Delhi Excise scam
Kejriwal has been summoned by the CBI under section 161 of the Cr PC as a witness.
NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Delhi around 11.05 am to answer questions of agency in connection with the ongoing investigations into the corruption charges in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, which was allegedly ‘tweaked’ to benefit liquor traders that resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 2873 crores to the Delhi Government.
Kejriwal has been summoned by the CBI under section 161 of the Cr PC as a witness. Section 161 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 allows “Examination of a person as witnesses” and provides for oral examination of the person by any investigating officer on assumption that the person might be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of a case.
The agency is probing several aspects of the alleged scam in which files and evidence are still missing or have not been handed over by some of the accused. The agency is expected to question the Delhi CM about his role in the scam and also his associations with some of the top accused – including Sameer Mahendru and Vijay Nair - as alleged in the statements by some of the witnesses and accused during the investigations.
While leaving for the CBI headquarters from his home at Flag Staff Road, Kejriwal told the media that “some anti-national forces don’t want India to develop.” He said, “For 75 years those forces had stalled India's progress but now India won’t stop. I want to tell these forces that the country will continue to progress: People of India want the country to progress”
This is the first time, the Delhi CM has been summoned in connection with the scam. The scam which was a fallout of tweaks made in the Delhi Excise Policy which benefitted a group of liquor traders and caused losses to Delhi government is being probed by CBI and ED following allegations of corruption and money laundering.
Kejriwal’s name figured in the Delhi Excise scam for the first time when the Directorate of Enforcement made disclosures about the Delhi chief minister’s involvement in the Delhi Excise Case, in the second chargesheet filed before a Special ED Court on January 6.
Alleging that Kejriwal had connived with the accused including his colleague and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, the ED in the chargesheet said that the CM during one of the video calls with the accused number one, Sameer Mahendru, had said that Vijay Nair is his (Kejriwal’s) boy and that Sameer should trust him and carry on with him. The call happened when the policy was being formulated.
Stating that “These facts are relevant to mention so as to establish the abetment of his (Kejriwal) actions in relation to the Excise policy scam by the political leaders of AAP,” the ED in the chargesheet filed before Special Judge MK Nagpal said, “Vijay Nair who orchestrated this entire scam is not an ordinary worker of the AAP bust a close associate of CM Arvind Kejriwal and was closely interacting with Dy CM for the Excise Policy related matters.”
ED’s allegations of Kejriwal were based on the various statements recorded during the investigation including that of C Arvind, a DANICS officer and secretary to Sisodia. The DANICS officer had deposed before the agency regarding the formulation of the policy and the circumstances under which changes were incorporated in it which eventually led to the scam and caused losses to the Delhi Exchequer.
The CBI which arrested Sisodia in connection with the case on February 26 for non-cooperation in the investigation has filed one chargesheet so far in the case on November 25, naming seven accused including Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Arun R. Pillai, Mootha Gautham, Sameer Mahendru, Kuldeep Singh, who was the then Deputy Commissioner, Excise Narender Singh, the then Asst. Commissioner, Excise Department.
The CBI registered the Delhi Excise case in August last year against Sisodia and 14 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The FIR was lodged after Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. Sisodia, was in charge of the excise department at the relevant period when the policy was formulated and implemented.
It was alleged that the policy, which was brought into effect in November 2021, was influenced at the formulation stage to benefit certain businessmen, liquor distributors and traders. Following the registration of the case the Delhi government had withdrawn the policy with effect from 31 July 2022.