Arvind Kejriwal, ED Summons, Delhi Liquor Policy Case, Meenakshi Lekhi, Delhi Jal Board

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'Modiji Sat For 12 Hours': Union Minister's Jab At Arvind Kejriwal, Skipped Summons

Union Minister and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi launched a sharp attack on the Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday, ramping up the bitter spat between the two parties over alleged corruption in the city’s liquor excise policy and the water development authority.

An apoplectic Ms Lekhi held Prime Minister Narendra Modi up as an ideal for Mr Kejriwal to follow, declaring Mr Modi had (when he was Gujarat Chief Minister) “sat for 12 hours answering questions”; the reference was to the PM being questioned by a special team investigating the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“That is how you face… instead of drama and corruption like Kejriwal,” Ms Lekhi thundered.

The Union Minister’s attack comes amid a tug-of-war between the Delhi Chief Minister and his AAP and the Enforcement Directorate, which has summoned Mr Kejriwal five times for questioning in the liquor policy case. Mr Kejriwal has skipped all five and could now be arrested by the central agency.

The agency – which the AAP and other opposition parties say is being used by the BJP to target rivals, particularly before elections – is investigating alleged money laundering of proceeds of crime, referring to “undue benefits” to liquor cartels as a result of the November 2021 excise policy.

Before Ms Lekhi’s diatribe today, Delhi Minister Atishi had alleged the Enforcement Directorate case against the AAP is built on statements made by accused-turned-approvers. She said AAP leaders had been “threatened… in the name of this so-called liquor scam” and stressed “even after hundreds of raids in two years, ED has not been able to recover a single rupee… no concrete evidence…”

READ | Atishi’s “Fake Cases” Charge Against Central Agency Draws Warning

Ms Lekhi also slammed alleged corruption and money laundering in the Delhi Jal Board, over which two people – a retired chief engineer and a contractor – were arrested last week. In addition, three senior AAP leaders have also been arrested, in connection with various cases – former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, former Health Minister Satyendra Jain, and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.

“Delhi’s governance model is on ventilator… excise policy is biggest scam one can think of (and now) while Chief Minister is avoiding answering ED summons, another scam came to the front,” she said.

“And yesterday the Delhi High Court found a false affidavit was filed… it contains some remarks regarding procurement processes. Where the audit report found central procurement processes are violative of law, and drugs procured are substandard, and also not adhering to regulations…”

Ms Lekhi ripped into the “power-hungry” AAP-led Delhi government.

“Delhi government is only bothered about publicity. They are hungry to stay in power at any cost. They are hungry and greedy for corruption…” she declared.

Meanwhile, Mr Kejriwal last week accused the BJP of trying to poach his party’s lawmakers.

READ | “They Say ‘Join BJP’. I Say ‘Never'”: Arvind Kejriwal On “Poaching” Row

“They can do whatever they want. Nothing will happen. I am not going to bow  to them. They say ‘come to BJP, we won’t trouble you’. No… I won’t join. And what crime have we done they need to pardon us?”

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police – which reports to the Union Home Ministry – served notice to Mr Kejriwal Saturday, asking him to reply within three days. The same notice was also served to Atishi.

The BJP has refuted the allegations, calling them “false” and “baseless”.

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