NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday said it respects the Delhi court order asking Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear on February 17 and asserted that it will present its stand on why the multiple ED summonses against him were "illegal" and part of "political conspiracy".
The party was reacting after Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Divya Malhotra summoned Kejriwal on February 17 on a complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him over the non-compliance of its summons in a money-laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.
The court noted that prima facie the AAP chief was "legally bound" to comply with the summons of the investigating agency.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi cabinet minister Atishi said Kejriwal earlier wrote to the Enforcement Directorate, highlighting the "illegality" of the notices and sought answers.
"But there was no reply from the ED. The ED could not prove why their summons were not illegal," she charged.
"We respect the court's summons. We will present our side on why Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped five summonses," she said.
Questioning the timing of the summons, she said they would inform the court about the sequence of events.
"The BJP does a press conference and announces that Kejriwal will go to jail and ED will arrest him. After BJP's press conference, ED summons Kejriwal. This shows that the summonses are not being issued for carrying out a probe but a political conspiracy to arrest the chief minister," she said.
The minister also said they have been "continuously" asking the ED why was Kejriwal not summoned earlier.
"When the probe into the alleged excise policy scam has been going on for the last two years, why are the summons being sent right before the Lok Sabha polls? "Two years back, they had no interest in summoning Kejriwal, but as soon as campaigning time for the Lok Sabha polls is approaching, he is getting repeated summonses. We will tell the court that this is being done to arrest him and stop him from campaigning in the polls," she charged.
The AAP has constantly alleged that the repeated summonses are a "political conspiracy" to arrest Kejriwal and derail the party's Lok Sabha campaign.
"The fact that the ED summonses are being sent to Kejriwal and Operation Lotus is starting in Delhi will also be presented before the court.
"Some people are offering money and tickets to AAP MLAs and telling them that Kejriwal will be arrested and the government will be toppled," she alleged.
She reiterated her allegations against the ED accusing it of being "involved in the disappearance of audio recordings from CCTV footage of interrogation" in the excise policy case.
"We will present all these facts in the court," she said.
The AAP chief on Friday skipped the fifth summons issued to him by the ED.
The agency issued the summons to him last Wednesday. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor had earlier written to the ED describing the summonses as "illegal and politically motivated".
He had alleged that the summonses were aimed at preventing him from campaigning in elections.