Arvind Kejriwal Arrested By Enforcement Directorate In Liquor Policy Case

Mr Kejriwal has become the first sitting chief minister to be arreste

New Delhi:  In a seismic development in national politics just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha election, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged liquor policy scam. The probe agency was investigating the money laundering angle in the case. 

Mr Kejriwal has become the first serving chief minister to be arrested in the history of Independent India and his party has said he will continue to hold the post. 

Speaking from outside the chief minister’s residence on Thursday, Delhi minister Atishi said, “We are getting reports that the Enforcement Directorate has arrested Mr Kejriwal. His arrest is a conspiracy by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since the investigation of this case began two years ago, not one rupee has been recovered by the ED or the CBI despite over 1,000 raids on AAP leaders and ministers.”

Pointing out that Mr Kejriwal has not been convicted, Ms Atishi said the fight will go on and the party has approached the Supreme Court against his arrest. “Our lawyers are going to the court for urgent mentioning. We will demand that the case be heard tonight itself,” she said.

An ED team, consisting of 12 officials, reached Mr Kejriwal’s residence with a search warrant on Thursday evening and questioned him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act before his eventual arrest. His and his wife’s phones were confiscated and data was transferred from two tablets and a laptop at his home. 

As the ED officials carried out their questioning inside the residence, Delhi Police and Rapid Action Force personnel as well as CRPF teams were deployed outside. Prohibitory orders were imposed in the area outside the residence and several AAP workers, who had gathered to protest Mr Kejriwal’s arrest, were detained. 

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The Delhi chief minister’s arrest comes less than a week after BRS leader K Kavitha was taken into custody in the liquor policy case. After her arrest, Mr Kejriwal was, for the first time, named as a conspirator in the case.

Ever since the first summons was issued by the Enforcement Directorate in October last year and he was asked to appear on November 2, there has been intense speculation that the Delhi chief minister would be arrested by the agency.

Former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was put behind bars in connection with the case in February last year, and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was taken into custody in October.

Mr Kejriwal has repeatedly said that there was no scam in the Delhi liquor policy and the ED, which he claims is controlled by the BJP, is out to arrest him. The AAP and many other opposition parties have accused the BJP of misusing central agencies against their leaders. The harassment of opposition leaders, they have claimed, has increased in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, which will begin on April 19. 

The AAP’s allies in the INDIA bloc, including the Trinamool Congress and the Congress have also condemned the arrest. “Targeting Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal in this manner due to elections is completely wrong and unconstitutional. Lowering the level of politics in this manner suits neither the Prime Minister nor his government,” senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra posted on X. 

Earlier on Thursday, the Delhi High Court had declined to give protection from arrest to Mr Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, but had asked the ED to file a reply to his petition. Listing the matter for the next hearing on April 22, a Bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain said, “We have heard both sides, and we are not inclined at this stage (to grant protection). The respondent (ED) is at liberty to file a reply.”


In a press note released on Sunday, the Enforcement Directorate had called the AAP chief a conspirator in the alleged liquor policy scam.

“ED investigation revealed that Ms K Kavitha along with others conspired with the top leaders of AAP including Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia for getting favours in the Delhi Excise policy formulation and implementation. In exchange of these favours, she was involved in paying ₹ 100 Crore to the leaders of AAP,” the press note said.

“By the acts of corruption and conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, a continuous stream of illegal funds in the form of kickback, from the wholesalers was generated for the AAP. Further, Smt K Kavitha and her associates were to recover the proceeds of crime paid in advance to AAP and to further generate profits/proceeds of crime from this entire conspiracy,” it added.

The Case 

Under the liquor policy, introduced in November 2021, the government withdrew from retail sale of liquor and allowed private licensees to run stores. In July 2022, Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar flagged gross violations in the policy and alleged “undue benefits” to liquor licensees. The policy was scrapped in September that year.

The CBI has alleged that liquor companies were involved in framing the excise policy, which would have earned them a 12% profit.on the wholesale side. It said a liquor lobby dubbed the “South Group” – of which Ms Kavitha was allegedly a member – had paid kickbacks, part of which were routed to public servants. The Enforcement Directorate has alleged laundering of the kickbacks.

Post a commentThe BJP has claimed that the proceeds of the alleged scam were used by the AAP to fund its campaign for the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2022, in which it got 12.91% of the votes and established itself as a national party.

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