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ED summons Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot in excise policy case | Latest News Delhi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot to appear before the investigating officer in connection with a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy on Saturday, officials aware of the matter said.

Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot. (File)

This is the first time that the federal agency has summoned Gahlot in the money laundering probe related to the Delhi excise policy. The ED has so far arrested Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in the case. While Kejriwal is currently in ED’s custody after his arrest on March 21, Singh and Sisodia are lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

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The AAP has denied ED’s allegation of money laundering in the now-scrapped excise policy and,ccused the Centre of using ED to target rival party leaders on fake charges. The party has claimed that the agency has no evidence to establish allegations of money laundering except statements of some arrested people who were allegedly threatened into naming the AAP leaders.

The party is yet to comment on the new development related to Gahlot’s summoning.

Though ED officials connected to the case did not share details on Gahlot’s summon, the minister has been named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as being a part of the group of ministers that drafted the excise policy. The ED will likely record Gahlot’s statement and ask him for minutes of the meeting when the excise policy was drafted. The CBI is probing irregularities behind the Delhi liquor policy case, while the ED is probing the money laundering.

In different submissions before the court, ED has claimed that a conspiracy was hatched by political leaders including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha among others in the excise policy. A South Group comprising businessman Sarath Reddy, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and K Kavitha got nine zones out of 32 in Delhi under new excise policy 2021-22. The policy was brought out with an extraordinarily high 12% profit margin for wholesalers and almost 185% profit margin for the retailers. As per the conspiracy, 6% out of the 12% margin was to be collected back from the wholesalers as kickback to the leaders of AAP, ED has alleged.

ED has alleged that the South Group paid kickback of 100 crore in advance to Vijay Nair (AAP’s then communications in-charge), who was managing this scheme and conspiracy on behalf of the leaders of the AAP. The agency said in one of court documents last year that “Vijay Nair is not an ordinary worker of the AAP but a close associate of Arvind Kejriwal, the CM of Delhi…”.

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