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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

ED a political weapon, SC dismissed its claim that AAP got Rs 100 crores in kickbacks: Atishi

In a statement on Monday, the ED claimed arrested BRS leader Kavitha along with others "conspired with the top leaders of AAP"

PTI New Delhi Published 19.03.24, 03:09 PM
Atishi

Atishi File photo

Delhi Minister Atishi on Tuesday accused the Enforcement Directorate of becoming a "political weapon" and claimed the agency's assertion that BRS leader K Kavitha was involved in paying Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders for favours in the now-scrapped excise policy has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Addressing a press conference, she alleged the federal probe agency's action was aimed at stopping Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal from campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls.

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Kavitha, the MLC daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) agency last week from her Hyderabad home and she is in the federal probe agency's custody till March 23.

In a statement on Monday, the ED claimed 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 for these favours, she was involved in paying Rs 100 crore to the leaders of AAP," the agency said.

Dismissing the allegation, Atishi said, "Political parties issue press releases. Why did the ED issue a political press release? This means that ED has become a political weapon. The BJP is scared of only one political leader -- Arvind Kejriwal. They want to stop him from campaigning in Lok Sabha polls." "Yesterday, the ED issued a press release saying that Rs 100 crore bribe was given to AAP leaders. This assertion was dismissed by the Supreme Court last year while hearing the bail plea of former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia," she alleged.

In another press conference, her cabinet colleague Saurabh Bharadwaj echoed similar views and said that Kejriwal posing questions to the BJP makes them uncomfortable.

"Our key leaders are in jail. They are trying to put our top leader in jail," he alleged.

He also reiterated that no money trail has been found and no recovery has been made by the ED in its probe in the excise policy case.

The agency said it has conducted searches at 245 locations across the country since the registration of a case in 2022 and has arrested 15 persons, including AAP leaders Sisodia and Sanjay Singh and some liquor businessmen.

It has filed a total of six charge sheets in this case till now and has attached assets worth over Rs 128 crore.

The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.

The policy was subsequently scrapped and Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the irregularities in its formulation and implementation. Later, the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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