Politics

AAP to be made accused by ED in Delhi Excise Policy case

The declaration was made by the central agency during the court's consideration of AAP leader Manish Sisodia's bail request in the Delhi excise policy issue

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conveyed to the Delhi High Court today, its intention to designate Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) an accused in the ongoing Delhi excise policy scam case.

The declaration was made by the central agency during the court’s consideration of AAP leader Manish Sisodia’s bail request in the Delhi excise policy issue.

“AAP is going to be made a co-accused in the next prosecution complaint (charge sheet) to be filed in the case,” the Special counsel Zoheb Hossain appearing for ED told Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who is presiding over proceedings regarding Sisodia’s bail plea.

Importantly, the bench of Justice Swarana Kanata Sharma recently held that a political party can be purchased under the terms of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, rejecting a challenge to the detention of the party’s convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

It stated that the supplemental charge sheet would include AAP as an accused party. In the meantime, the Delhi liquor excise policy’s Rouse Avenue Court postponed hearing arguments on May 20 to review the sixth supplemental charge sheet that the ED had submitted.

The accused is making deliberate attempts, according to the ED’s attorney, to drag out the process of filing charges. In their argument for bail, Sisodia’s legal team emphasized that the trial is still far from over because the ED and the Central Bureau of Probe (CBI) are still making arrests in connection with the continuing probe into money laundering and corruption.

Additionally, the court granted BRS commander K. Kavitha an extension of judicial detention till May 20. Manish Sisodia, who served as Arvind Kejriwal’s deputy as chief minister of Delhi, has been incarcerated since February of last year. Multiple judges rejected his bail requests.

Arvind Kejriwal is among the AAP leaders accused by the ED of taking bribes in exchange for creating a liquor policy that benefits the ‘South collection,’ a purported collection of politicians and liquor industry executives.

The agency further asserts that the Aam Aadmi Party funded its campaign for the Goa assembly elections using part of the purported profits of the crime. Kejriwal was detained by the ED in March as part of an investigation into money laundering related to the Delhi excise policy case.

On March 21, Kejriwal was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) from his official residence in Delhi. On March 15, K Kavitha, an MLC and the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, was arrested in Hyderabad.

In light of the Lok Sabha elections, the Supreme Court freed him earlier this month on temporary bail till June 1. But Kejriwal was told by the court not to take up administrative work as the chief minister of Delhi.

In the meantime, about a previous liquor policy issue, the Supreme Court on Friday granted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal provisional release till June 1. The decision was rendered by Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta. Kejriwal needs to turn himself up by June 2 if he wants to avoid prosecution in a money laundering case involving a purported excise policy scheme.

AAP leaders were ecstatic on Friday, hailing party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail as a “miracle” and a victory for the truth. Saurabh Bharadwaj, an AAP leader, likened the interim bail to a divine blessing, stating, “Interim bail is not less than a miracle. This is blessing of Hanuman. What has happened is extraordinary.”

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