Friday, April 12, 2024

From policy formulation to receiving kickbacks, what does ED’s remand application for Kejriwal say?


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New Delhi, March 22:  The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in its remand application filed before a Delhi court said that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was involved in the conspiracy of formulating the 2021-22 excise policy to favour certain individuals, and also for demanding kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange of granting favours in the said policy, officials said on Friday.

Detailing Kejriwal’s involvement in the matter, the ED said he played a direct role in shaping the now-revoked excise policy.

“The formulation of this policy was geared towards benefiting the ‘South Group’ and was orchestrated in collaboration with Vijay Nair, Manish Sisodia, and representatives of the South Group,” the ED said in its remand application.

The ED also highlighted Kejriwal’s influence on the policy formulation through the accounts of two individuals — C. Arvind, former Secretary to Manish Sisodia, and Buchi Babu, the chartered accountant of BRS MLC K. Kavitha.

The ED claimed that C. Arvind disclosed receiving the draft report from Sisodia at Kejriwal’s residence in the presence of former Health Minister Satyendar Jain, which outlined granting wholesale licence to private entities and fixing a 12 per cent profit margin.

According to the ED, these details were not deliberated upon in the Group of Ministers’ meetings.

C. Arvind also prepared a draft based on these instructions, and later submitted it to the Cabinet, the ED added.

Buchi Babu’s involvement in the matter surfaced when certain provisions of the excise policy were found in his phone, days before the policy was finalised by the Council of Ministers, the remand application said.

Babu alleged receiving these details from Vijay Nair, a close associate of Kejriwal, the ED claimed.

The second direct involvement of Kejriwal, according to the ED’s investigation, was in receiving kickbacks from the ‘South Group’ in exchange for favourable treatment during the formulation and execution of the excise policy.

This was substantiated by the statements made by the alleged members of the ‘South Group’ — Sarath Reddy, Raghav Magunta, and Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy — who later turned approvers in the case.

According to the ED, despite holding no official position in the Delhi excise department, Vijay Nair allegedly acted as a mediator on behalf of the top leaders, particularly Kejriwal, in soliciting kickbacks from the various stakeholders.

The fourth component of the ED’s investigation linking Kejriwal to the case was the utilisation of the proceeds of crime.

According to the ED, nearly Rs 45 crore was used for the Aam Aadmi Party’s election campaign in Goa.

Statements made by the individuals involved in AAP’s election campaign in Goa revealed cash payments for services rendered as survey workers, area managers, and Assembly managers, managed by a person named Chanpreet and overseen by Vijay Nair and Durgesh Pathak, an AAP MLA in Delhi.

These payments were corroborated by a Goa AAP candidate, who acknowledged receiving cash for election expenses from the AAP volunteers.



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