Kejriwal to Appear Online Before ED

The Asian Age.  | Amresh Srivastava and Bhaskar Hari Sharma

India, All India

Sources said the Central agency is examining Kejriwal’s response and is likely to issue him a ninth summons

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: After skipping the eighth summons by the Enforcement Directorate over the alleged Delhi excise policy scam on Monday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has expressed his willingness to appear before the investigative agency via video-conferencing on any day after March 12.

Sources said the Central agency is examining Mr Kejriwal’s response and is likely to issue him a ninth summons as it is unlikely to allow his request to appear virtually.

In his latest reply to the ED, Mr Kejriwal reiterated that the summonses were “illegal” but that he was still willing to answer the ED’s questions. The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the probe agency's intention was to arrest Mr Kejriwal in the “middle of the Lok Sabha polls”.

The schedule for the polls expected to be held in April-May is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.

 The AAP supremo has skipped all eight summonses issued by the ED, calling them illegal, and asked the agency to wait as the matter was pending in a local court here.

The city court, approached by the ED over Mr Kejriwal skipping its summonses, has also  directed the Delhi chief minister to appear before it on March 16.

The AAP demanded that Mr Kejriwal be questioned by the ED through video-conferencing and it be live telecast.

Hitting out at the chief minister, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said no further relaxation should be given to him. “What kind of a message is he (Kejriwal) giving to the children of Delhi? I believe that no further relaxation should be given to him. Now, he should be dealt with strictly,” Mr Tiwari said.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana alleged that Mr Kejriwal has disrespected the law by skipping the ED's summonses. “He (Kejriwal) is now saying that he will appear before the ED virtually on March 12. He can do this even today if he wants to appear virtually,” Mr Khurana said.

Countering the BJP verbal slugfest, Delhi health minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said several BJP ministers and spokespersons were claiming that Mr Kejriwal was trying to avoid giving answers, but the AAP kept saying that the matter is not about the questions but about his arrest.

“So, now the CM has found a middle path. He has said that as soon as the Budget Session ends, he will give the answers to every question via video-conferencing,” Mr Bharadwaj said.