Arvind Kejriwal appears before CBI

  • | Sunday | 16th April, 2023

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in connection with the alleged excise policy scam case. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, other top Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and workers held a protest outside the central probe agency’s headquarters to show their solidarity with the AAP national convenor. Kejriwal appeared before the CBI officials at 11:05 am. His questioning was being held at the agency’s headquarters here by a team of senior CBI officials. This was the first time that Kejriwal was being grilled by the agency. Kejriwal was accompanied by his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Maan, Delhi Ministers and AAP MPs to the CBI office. “I will answer all the questions. BJP leaders are talking about it (my arrest). The CBI is controlled by the BJP,” Kejriwal told reporters outside the CBI office. The AAP leaders held the protest to show their solidarity with Kejriwal who was being grilled by the team of senior CBI officials in connection with the case. AAP leaders including Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh and others were detained by the Delhi Police for protesting near the CBI office in the National Capital. The detained AAP leaders were heard chanting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “BJP suffers from Kejriwal phobia. It is because of Kejriwal’s fear that the BJP has come down to such an act. It is a cowardly act. We are not scared of jail,” Raghav Chadha said. The Punjab Chief Minister and other top AAP leaders had sat on the protest outside the CBI office in the National Capital against Kejriwal’s questioning by the probe agency in the liquor policy case. AAP top brass Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and others joined the protest outside the CBI office. Delhi Minister Atishi attacked the BJP-led Centre claiming it was scared of the growing popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared of the growing popularity of Arvind Kejriwal. This is the reason why the leaders of AAP are being put in jail. This is the reason Arvind Kejriwal has been called for questioning by the CBI. They say that it is a scam of thousands of crores but till now they have not been able to prove that even a single rupee was embezzled. The entire country is with Arvind Kejriwal,” Atishi told a news agency. Earlier on Sunday, several AAP workers were detained by Delhi Police in Kashmiri Gate area. Ahead of appearing before the CBI, the Delhi Chief Minister paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial, Rajghat, in the National Capital. The AAP national convenor attacked the Centre, saying that “some anti-national forces do not want India to develop”. “Some anti-national forces do not want India to develop. I want to tell these forces that the country will continue to progress,” Kejriwal told reporters before leaving his residence. Ahead of his appearance before the CBI, Kejriwal also held a high-level meeting with top leaders of the AAP at his residence on Sunday morning. Several Delhi ministers, including Atishi, Kailash Gahlot, Raj Kumar Anand, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain, were present at the meeting. The Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Assembly speaker Sardar Kultar Singh Sandhwan also attended the meeting. AAP MPs Raghav Chadha, ND Gupta and Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel were also present at the meeting. According to sources, the meeting was called to discuss the next course of action after Kejriwal’s questioning by the CBI on Sunday. The Delhi CM alleged that the central agency will arrest him if the BJP government has given the orders. In a video message released on Sunday morning, Kejriwal said, “They (CBI) have called me today and I will definitely go. They are very powerful, they can send anyone to jail. If BJP has ordered CBI to arrest me, then CBI will obviously follow their instructions.” He further said, “You (BJP) say that I am corrupt. I was a Commissioner in the Income Tax Department, I could have earned crores if I wanted to. If Arvind Kejriwal is corrupt, then there is no one in this world who is honest.” In a major development in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam case, the CBI on April 14 had summoned Kejriwal for questioning in the case on April 16 at the Central probe agency’s headquarters here at 11 am. Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, a key aide of Kejriwal, is in jail over alleged irregularities in the excise case. Sisodia was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI in the ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy in Delhi. The CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26. Later on March 9, the ED arrested him, after hours of questioning at Tihar Jail. The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their account books to evade detection, the probe agencies said.

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