ED claims Arvind Kejriwal named Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj in liquor policy probe


In a significant development on April 1, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India stated that Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, implicated fellow Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and state ministers Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj during questioning regarding the controversial liquor policy case. The ED’s claim suggests a deeper involvement within the AAP leadership concerning the case’s allegations. Vijay Nair, a key figure entangled in the investigation and former AAP communication-in-charge, was mentioned as primarily reporting to Marlena and Bharadwaj rather than directly to Kejriwal.

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This revelation follows the arrest of Kejriwal by the ED on March 21 from his residence, related to the excise policy scam and another case involving alleged kickbacks in a contract awarded by the Delhi Jal Board. After the conclusion of his ED custody on April 1, a local court ordered Kejriwal’s jail remand until April 15. Prior to being moved to Tihar Jail, the court permitted him a brief meeting with his wife Sunita Kejriwal, along with Atishi and Bharadwaj.

During a court appearance at Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court, the ED criticized Kejriwal for his lack of cooperation and evasive responses, specifically noting his refusal to unlock digital devices by withholding passwords.

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AAP leader Jasmine Shah reacted to the ED’s allegations with skepticism, pointing out the inconsistency in the timeline and questioning the agency’s motives. Shah highlighted previous statements from Vijay Nair, asserting his lack of direct reporting to the Chief Minister, which now raises questions about the timing and content of the ED’s statement.

The liquor policy case involves accusations of corruption, money laundering, and mismanagement in the creation and implementation of Delhi’s excise policy, introduced in November 2021 and scrapped by September 2022 amid corruption charges. The policy, which increased profit margins for wholesalers significantly, has been criticized for fostering cartelization and improperly favoring certain licensees for financial gain. Other prominent AAP figures, including Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, are also implicated and currently held in judicial custody, alongside Bharat Rashtra Samithi lawmaker K Kavitha.

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