Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Kejriwal demanded bribe of Rs 100 cr, ED tells court


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NEW DELHI, June 19: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded a Rs 100 crore bribe from the South Group for his party, the Enforcement Directorate claimed on Wednesday while opposing his bail application in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise scam.
The central probe agency told the court that if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been arrayed as an accused in the case, commits a crime, the person in charge of the party will be held culpable.
The ED told the court that when former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was made an accused in the case, the AAP was not named as an accused.
“Kejriwal demanded bribe. He asked for bribe of Rs 100 crore. Kejriwal asked for funds for the AAP. Kejriwal demanded kickbacks from South Group. You can’t say he is not guilty of offence. If AAP commits a crime, then every person in charge of the party will be deemed to be guilty,” the ED told Special Judge Niyay Bindu.
“Now AAP has been made an accused. Kejriwal is responsible for the conduct (of the party),” it added.
The judge, meanwhile, also extended Kejriwal’s judicial custody after he was produced before the court through video conference on expiry of his judicial custody granted earlier.
The counsel appearing for Kejriwal opposed the ED’s application seeking extension of his judicial custody, saying there were no grounds to justify his continued incarceration.
During the arguments on his bail application, Kejriwal’s counsel told the court that the entire case against him rested upon statements.
“The statements are of those who have confessed themselves to be guilty. They are not saints here. They are those who are not only tainted but it appears that some were arrested and were given a promise of bail and promise of being granted pardon. Approvers. And there is another category who have not been arrested,” the counsel said.
“Circumstances have to be so intrinsically linked (as to) to lead to the guilt. These statements by tainted persons discredit the case of prosecution. There is no evidence that Rs 100 crore came from South Group. These are all statements. There is no evidence. This is all in the form of statements,” Kejriwal’s counsel said.
According to the ED and the CBI, the South Group is a cartel of politicians, business people and others who lobbied for liquor licences for which they paid bribe to the Delhi’s ruling party.
Kejriwal’s lawyer claimed there were contradictions in the statements made by several co-accused. The counsel said the Supreme Court had granted Kejriwal interim bail after being satisfied that there was no likelihood of him trying to escape justice or influence the investigation or witnesses. He also said Kejriwal has no criminal antecedents. Refuting Kejriwal’s argument that the only evidence the ED had got against him was “approvers’ statements”, the central agency said when it becomes difficult to secure evidence, approvers are made.“The law recognises it. You can’t say there is inducement…So, it is what the law says,” it said.
The fact that the offence of money laundering has been committed is beyond doubt because the court has taken cognisance and it has not been challenged, it added.
“Co-accused Vijay Nair was media coordinator of AAP. He was coordinating. He used to hold meetings with those interested in liquor policy, the wholesalers. We have evidence that he was very close to Kejriwal.(PTI)


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