Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday called a meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party legislators in the wake of the recent actions by central probe agencies against the party leaders and ministers in the excise policy scam case.
Kejriwal had been summoned on November 2 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in connection with its money laundering probe linked to the liquor policy case. The AAP supremo, however, skipped the summons, saying it was “politically motivated”.
During the meeting, all party MLAs urged Kejriwal to continue as the chief minister even if he is arrested in the case.
Delhi Minister Atishi said the AAP will seek permission from court to allow the chief minister to operate from jail if he is arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“If the Chief Minister goes to jail, the files will have to be moved there. Cabinet meetings will be held there", Atishi told news agency ANI after the meeting.
Taking a swipe at the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Atishi said the case against Kejriwal was a “political conspiracy”.
"The case does not pertain to any investigation, rather, it is just a political conspiracy. We will not let it succeed,” she said.
Atishi’s cabinet colleague Saurabh Bharadwaj said the MLAs present at today’s meeting unanimously urged Kejriwal to continue as the chief minister even if he is arrested “since he has been given the mandate by the people of Delhi to run the government".
"All of them had a unanimous view that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scared of Arvind Kejriwal. The BJP knows that it cannot oust Kejriwal from power through elections and it can only be done by hatching a conspiracy," Bharadwaj told reporters.
"The conditions look like we will also be in jail soon. So it might be possible that Atishi will be lodged in jail number 2 and I in jail number 1 and we will hold cabinet meetings inside jail. We will ensure that the work for the people of Delhi is not stopped," he further said.
Kejriwal, in a letter to the assistant director of the ED last week, had said the summons issued to him appeared to be politically motivated.
He also alleged that the ED notice had been leaked to select leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party to malign his image and reputation.
"Simultaneous to the summons, in the afternoon of 30.10.2023, BJP leaders started making statements that I would be summoned and arrested. By the evening of that day, I received your summons. It is thus apparent that the said summons was leaked to select BJP leaders to malign my image and reputation and has been issued at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre," the chief minister had said in his letter.
The ED issued summons to Kejriwal on October 30, the same day when the Supreme Court refused to grant bail to former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case on February 26.
The case pertains to the allegations that the Delhi government's policy to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it.
The AAP government had implemented the policy on November 17, 2021 but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.