Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today skipped the third summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has strongly criticised the timing of the summons, just ahead of the 2024 general elections, alleging that it is a deliberate attempt to hinder the Delhi Chief Minister’s campaign.
AAP claimed today that Mr Kejriwal is willing to cooperate with the ED but has deemed the notice illegal.
What Lies Ahead?
An individual can ignore an ED summons three times. Since Mr Kejriwal has now exhausted the tally, the ED can now seek a non-bailable warrant (NBW), compelling his appearance before a court.
Failure to comply with an NBW may lead to arrest and subsequent court proceedings.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Legal Options
The Delhi Chief Minister maintains that he is prepared to cooperate with the agency but questions the timing and urgency of the summons. Kejriwal’s refusal to appear before the ED on two previous occasions has escalated the tension between the AAP and the investigative agency.
Mr Kejriwal has at least two legal avenues available to him. He can move to court to challenge the summons, asserting his rights and seeking clarity on the allegations. Additionally, he can opt for anticipatory bail, a legal mechanism to safeguard against arrest while an investigation is underway.
Initially summoned by the central agency on November 2, Mr Kejriwal declined to appear, citing the summons as “vague, motivated and unsustainable in law.”
The probe agency issued a second summons to Mr Kejriwal on December 18, requesting his presence at their office on December 21. However, the Chief Minister opted not to comply.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED are investigating the now-scrapped Delhi government excise policy for 2021-22, which is alleged to have benefited certain liquor dealers. The AAP has strongly denied the allegations. Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the policy after receiving a report from the Delhi government’s chief secretary.
Mr Kejriwal was questioned by the CBI for nine hours in April in connection with the case. AAP leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI in February this year.