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ED questions Arvind Kejriwal's PA, AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak in Delhi excise policy probe

New Delhi: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Monday questioned jailed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's personal assistant (PA), Bibhav Kumar, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA, Durgesh Pathak, in a money laundering probe related to irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 case.
The interrogation with both Bibhav and Pathak is continued at the ED headquarters.
ED investigators started questioning Bibhav soon after he deposed before them in the morning, while Pathak's questioning began when he reached at the agency office in the afternoon following summons issued against them separately.
Earlier in February, the ED had also questioned Bibhav and recorded his statements in connection with the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The move comes days after the federal agency arrested Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal in the case.
The case against the AAP supremo among others is based on a First Information Report (FIR) alleging multiple irregularities in the formation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The policy was withdrawn after allegations of corruption.
Arvind Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 on charges of corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped. He is now in judicial custody in Tihar Jail.
Kejriwal is the fourth AAP leader to have been arrested in the case, after former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha Member Sanjay Singh and the former party's communications in-charge Vijay Nair; while former Delhi's Health Minister Satyendar Kumar Jain were arrested in another case.
Last month, the ED also arrested Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha in the case alleging that she conspired with the top AAP leaders including Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia to get favours in the Delhi Excise policy formulation and implementation, and she was involved in paying Rs 100 crore to the AAP leaders in exchange of these favours by the acts of corruption and conspiracy.
Kavitha, who was arrested by an ED team on March 15, is in judicial custody. She was arrested after a search operation conducted at Kavitha's residence in Hyderabad on the same day.
A total of 16 persons including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Vijay Nair from AAP have been arrested in the case so far.
ED has filed one prosecution complaint and five supplementary complaints in the case so far.
"Further, out of proceeds of crime generated, assets worth Rs 128.79 crore have been traced so far and have been attached vide Provisional Attachment Orders dated January 24, 2023 and July 3, 2023. Both the attachment orders have been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority, New Delhi," the ED said earlier.
In its sixth supplementary complaint filed in the case on December 2, 2023, naming AAP leader Sanjay Singh and his aide Sarvesh Mishra, the ED had claimed that the AAP used kickbacks worth Rs 45 crore generated via the policy as part of its assembly elections campaign in Goa in 2022.
On Kejriwal's role, one of the six charge prosecution complaints filed in January 2023 states that Kejriwal told businessman Sameer Mahendru that former AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair "is his boy" and that he should trust him.
The excise policy was aimed to revitalise the city's flagging liquor business and replace a sales-volume-based regime with a license fee for traders. It promised swankier stores and a better buying experience. The policy introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor for the first time in Delhi.
Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena's move to order a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime prompted the scrapping of the policy. The AAP has accused Saxena's predecessor, Anil Baijal, of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

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