ED summon to AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before it on November 2 signals his possible arrest. It has triggered a serious political concern, since ED’s actions in the recent times have been by and large targeted against leaders of opposition political parties who happen to dare politically oppose PM Narendra Modi.
As the country is reaching closer to the Lok Sabha election, unprecedented increase in ED’s and other central investigating agencies’ raids, arrests, and actions against opposition leaders across the country are being witnessed. People in general believe opposing PM Narendra Modi turns too costly for those who dare to politically challenge him. Arvind Kejriwal is seen as one of such victims, and if he gets public sympathy as martyr BJP would certainly be in political trouble.
It should be noted that PM Narendra Modi’s political charisma and clout has successfully been checkmated in the National Capital Territory Delhi for the last one decade. Kejriwal has rendered humiliating defeat to BJP in every Vidhan Sabha election in the state since 2014 in spite of PM Modi’s high decibel political campaigns. BJP could get only 3 seats in 2015, and 8 seats in 2020 in a 70-seat Delhi Legislative Assembly. In the 2022 MCD election, Kejriwal’s AAP was able to throw out the BJP ruling for about 15 years.
No wonder BJP wants to nail down Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP. The allegation BJP leaders have been labelling against him is that AAP regime in Delhi is neck deep in corruption, and CM Arvind Kejriwal is the kingpin, as the BJP state leadership has alleged after the latest summon, and said that Delhi will finally be get freedom from Arvind Kejriwal’s corrupt regime. The political overtone is clearly heard in his statement. Moreover, ED has not always been found above suspicion and in many cases their ‘legal actions’ have been found ‘illegal’ even by Supreme Court of India. Judges have raised their probing fingers on ED and other Central investigating agencies on several occasions, especially in cases against political opponents. Moreover, there is a serious question of selective actions and inactions, which makes the case that Law is not taking its own course and it is not treating all equally which differentiates between the leaders of opposition and the leaders of the ruling establishment. Therefore, it is a serious political concern, and is not a simple matter of “action against the corrupts whosoever they may be”.
It may be recalled that the case in which ED has summoned Arvind Kejriwal is based on an FIR registered by CBI alleging multiple irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) which was actually scrapped following corruption allegation. AAP has been saying that the policy was even cleared by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. However, he has been kept outside of ED’s prosecution. Only AAP leaders, their associates, and people from liquor cartel have been made accused in this case.
CBI has previously questioned Arvind Kejriwal in April this year. Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has said, “As per the news that the Central Government’s ED has sent summon to Delhi CM, it gets clear that the Centre has only one aim to somehow finish AAP. They are not leaving a stone unturned in framing a false case to put CM Arvind Kejriwal in jail and to finish AAP.”
Other AAP leaders such as Delhi Minister Atishi also has said, “The BJP is scared of AAP and the work being done in Punjab and Delhi by the government. They are scared of free electricity, good schools, and Mohalla clinics. Therefore, they are trying to frame AAP leaders in false cases and send them to jail.”
“They want to finish the party. Under this conspiracy, the ED has summoned Arvind Kejriwal on Nov 2 to get him arrested. I want to tell the BJP that we are not scared of going to jail and their false cases,” she said.
Delhi BJP Chief Virendra Sachdeva has demanded immediate resignation from CM Arvind Kejriwal and said, “When the Liquor scam came to the fore, we were saying since the beginning that CM Arvind Kejriwal is the kingpin in the scam. When SC denied the bail plea of Manish Sisodia and established that there was a Rs 338 crore money trail. … “Arvind Kejriwal has to tell where they have spent Rs 338 crore…Arvind Kejriwal and his entire team, who call themselves honest, their faces have been unveiled”.
Only a few hours earlier, Delhi BJP chief has said that the rejection of Manish Sisodia’s bail applications by the Supreme Court suggests that there was sufficient evidence to prima facie implicate him in the alleged scam. He said that SC’s ruling was a rebuff to AAP leaders, including Kejriwal who has consistently maintained that there was no evidence of a money trail.
AAP has decided to file a review petition in the case. AAP leader Atishi has highlighted that the Supreme Court had delivered an adverse verdict despite making sharp observations about the conduct of the investigating agencies in this case. It should be noted that during hearing of the case judges have raised probing fingers on prosecution regarding the ‘money trail’ to Manish Sisodia.
ED had submitted in the SC that the trial in these cases would be concluded within six to eight months. Even when refusing bail, the bench has clarified that if the trial proceeded in the lackadaisical manner, Sisodia would have the liberty to apply for bail in these cases in three months.
Even then there is a bigger political question – what is the remedy for AAP and their leaders, or the opposition as a whole, if they are in reality made victim of politically opposing PM Narendra Modi? Political justice demands that Supreme Court must intervene to protect the opposition leaders, by making the ruling establishment responsible for their vindictive actions, if proved as such, or the cases turn out to be fake and political conspiracy. How to make politics in India free and fair is even the larger question that needs an answer. (IPA Service)