AAP to Share Congress Fate? ED May Make the Party ‘Prime Accused’, Freeze Accounts in Liquor Policy Case – News18


Its top leaders in jail, more trouble could be heading the Aam Aadmi Party’s way with the Enforcement Directorate likely to mention it as the prime accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in its upcoming chargesheet in connection with the liquor-excise policy case.

Such an action by the ED would pave the way for the agency to attach AAP’s accounts, properties and assets, News18 has learnt. Senior ED officers said the AAP may suffer the same financial fate as the Congress in terms of attachment of accounts or freezing of funds, but for different reasons.

That would mean fiscal troubles for two INDIA bloc constituents. The Income Tax department has reportedly found anomalies in the financial management of Congress, while the ED is likely to take legal action against the AAP and move through the general protocol of attaching assets and accounts of the party as, according to the directorate, AAP is an accused under the PMLA.

In the ‘ground for arrest’ (GFA) report and in the remand application, the ED has mentioned Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo, as the “key conspirator” and the “kingpin” of the alleged liquor policy scam.

The directorate is likely to file the chargesheet by May, naming Kejriwal and K Kavitha of the BRS as accused along with five other persons, a senior ED officer involved in the investigation told News18.

The ED has reportedly established a money trail of Rs 45 crore from Delhi to Goa through five hawala operators, who have been identified and examined, and their statements taken. The AAP is accused of funding its Goa election campaign from the proceeds of the alleged crime, said the agency’s GFA report and remand application, accessed by News18.

The directorate is said to have details of the chats and messages between the hawala operators and local businesses who allegedly received payments for the campaign work during Goa elections. “The details of the communications reveal how the money moved from Delhi to Goa through hawala channels. The payment was made partly in cash and partly in cheques. We mentioned the details in the ‘ground for arrest’ and in the remand application. More evidence and documents will be attached with the chargesheet,” said the officer.

AAP to Share Congress Fate?

News18 spoke to legal experts and several senior serving officers of the Enforcement Directorate to understand the implication of making the AAP a prime accused in the money laundering case while Arvind Kejriwal is mentioned as the ‘key conspirator’ in the legal documents.

According to a senior counsel of the directorate, “The ED, by law, attaches the proceeds to the crime. The investigation established that the money used for funding elections in Goa and other political activities came from the liquor policy scam, which is under investigation for the past two years. It has also been established that the formulation of policy and the related actions by the AAP-led government come under the PMLA and these are scheduled offences.”

Another senior officer explained that under Section 70(1) of PMLA, the assets of the party which may have enjoyed or used the proceeds come under the process of the PMLA.

“Where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company, for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly,” the sections states.

‘Proceeds of Crime’

In the legal documents, a copy of which was accessed by News18, the directorate has explained the alleged role of the AAP in using the “proceeds of the crime”. According to the document, the party is headed by Arvind Kejriwal (national convenor) which functions through the members of the National Executive Committee and Political Affairs Committee. These members include Kejriwal himself, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and other leaders of the party.

“As per the investigation done so far, the proceeds of crime – around Rs 45 crore – which was part of the bribes received from the South Group was used in the election campaign of the AAP in Goa in 2021-22,” said the document.

It further added the role in “Commission of offence of Money laundering by AAP as per Section70(1) of PMLA, 2002”.

“The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi liquor scam. Part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of cash of Rs 45 crore approx. has been utilised in the election campaign of AAP in Goa Assembly elections 2022. In this manner, AAP has committed the offence of money laundering through Arvind Kejriwal and the offences thus are covered by section 70, PMLA 2002,” said the directorate in the GFA report.


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