Kejriwal skips summons, ED says it will likely send a fresh notice | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Kejriwal skips summons, ED says it will likely send a fresh notice

ByHT Correspondet
Feb 27, 2024 05:14 AM IST

The AAP argued that a court will determine if the Delhi chief minister appears before ED and said that the Centre was trying to pressure the party to quit the INDIA grouping

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday skipped the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summons for questioning in connection with alleged irregularities in Delhi’s 2021-22 excise policy for the seventh time, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) arguing that a court will determine if he appears before the agency and alleged that the Centre was trying to pressure the party to quit the Opposition’s INDIA grouping.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will only appear before the federal agency only if a court orders him to do so. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will only appear before the federal agency only if a court orders him to do so. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The agency is now likely to issue Kejriwal an eighth summons.

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“The matter is in court and the next hearing is scheduled for March 16. Instead of sending these summons every day, ED should wait for the court’s order. We will not leave the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) and the central government should not pressure us this way,” the party said.

Kejriwal also said he will only appear before the federal agency only if a court orders him to do so.

ED has summoned the chief minister seven times in connection with the case.He also skipped the previous six summons — on November 2 and December 22 last year, and on January 3, January 18, February 2 and February 19 — calling them “illegal and politically motivated”.

An ED officer on Monday said: “We may re-issue the summons to the chief minister, because he needs to be questioned in the case. The court proceedings have nothing to do with his appearance before the investigating officer”.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal, accompanied by several Delhi ministers and AAP ministers, visited Rajghat to mark a year of former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s arrest.

“If the court says go, then I will go (to ED),” Kejriwal said. “They want us to break the alliance. Their message is that we should quit the alliance,” he said, speaking to reporters outside Rajghat.

The federal agency moved the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi on February 3 with a complaint over Kejriwal repeatedly skipping its summons. The court on Saturday granted Kejriwal an exemption from personally appearing in the case till March 16.

Kejriwal appeared before the court virtually, submitting that he could not physically appear due to the Budget session of the Delhi Assembly and the confidence motion in the House.

He also stressed that his party would not snap its alliance with the Congress, another constituent of the INDIA bloc, with which his party has entered a seat-sharing deal in Delhi, Haryana and Gujarat for the Lok Sabha polls.

Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said: “The CM was issued a notice and his lawyer has responded to it. ED should wait for the court to pronounce its verdict”.

AAP minister Atishi also said that the summons were being issued to target AAP to make it leave the INDIA alliance.

“The CM did not approach the court, ED did. Why are they not waiting for the court’s order? It is clear that this is not about legality or illegality — they just want to harass us. If ED cared for legality, it would wait for the due process of law to unfold,” she said.

Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Virendra Sachdeva said that Kejriwal should appear before the federal agency and “admit his crimes”.

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