A day after he was summoned by the CBI in the excise policy case, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday alleged a witch hunt against the Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “steeped in corruption from head to toe.”
Kejriwal said he would honour the Central Bureau of Investigation summons on Sunday even as he sought to convey that if he “is a thief, then no one in this world is innocent.”
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“The BJP has been screaming hoarse for the last year about an alleged excise scam in Delhi…They catch someone every day and then they torture them into naming Sisodia or Kejriwal… Can anyone say anything and get away with it in this country?” the Delhi CM said.
His response came even as the Bharatiya Janata Party launched a sharp attack on the Delhi CM terming him the mastermind and the “kingpin of the chess game of graft” that had landed his cabinet colleagues behind bars.
“I want to ask the Prime Minister, what is going on here? After an entire year of such ‘investigation’, they say Rs. 100 crore changed hands; where is a single naya paisa from this money? Today if I say I gave Narendra Modi Rs. 1000 crore at 7 pm on September 17; will you arrest him?” Kejriwal said.
Alleging that investigating agencies such as the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were pulling out all stops to frame opposition leaders, Kejriwal argued that the ED had accused his former deputy, Manish Sisodia, of destroying 14 phones, which were, however, “still live.”
“These are those numbers,” the CM said, showing a purported seizure memo of the ED. “Five out these 14 phones are in the possession of the ED and CBI, the rest are live and are either with an AAP volunteer or someone else…They have lied to the court under oath to frame Manish Sisodia,” he alleged.
Citing instances of those who had been arrested and later got bail in the alleged excise scam, Kejriwal alleged that some were subjected to “third degree torture” by the ED and CBI to extract confessions.
“What were they trying to extract from Chandan Reddy? What were they trying to make him say or make him sign that they beat him up so much that his ears got damaged?” he asked.
The CM later tweeted that “appropriate cases” would be filed against CBI and ED officials for “perjury and producing false evidence in courts.”
Kejriwal attacked the PM over a recent interview by Satya Pal Malik – who he said was “considered very close to Modiji” – in which the former Jammu & Kashmir governor reportedly remarked that the PM “didn’t mind corruption”.
“A person like Modiji, who is steeped in corruption from head to toe himself, cannot really consider corruption to be an issue,” Kejriwal said.
No other political party had been targeted in the last 75 years like the AAP, Kejriwal alleged, adding that it was because it had given the people of the country hope of change.
“The PM wants to trample upon this hope, he doesn’t want to let the loot that was going on for the last 75 years to stop,” the CM alleged.
“I want to tell Modiji that if Kejriwal is corrupt, no one in the world is innocent…They have called me tomorrow, I will go; I want to reiterate to the PM that if I am a thief, no one in this world is honest,” he said.
On its part, the BJP said Kejriwal needed to answer why he should not be investigated in connection with the alleged scam, given the fact that he heads the Delhi Cabinet under which the Group of Ministers that formulated the “corrupt excise policy” was formed.
“The moment Arvind Kejriwal was called for questioning by the CBI, he apparently started trembling with fear. This makes it quite clear that he is the real mastermind of the liquor scam,” BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said.
“I want to ask you, if you are not afraid, why don’t you just go and answer the questions the CBI asks? Why don’t you go for a polygraph/lie-detector test? These staunchly corrupt people seem to believe that they are above the law but that is not so,” Bhatia added.
As for allegations of misuse of investigation agencies against political rivals by the Centre, Bhatia argued that the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to admit a petition on this was “a tight slap on the face” of Arvind Kejriwal and the 14 parties that had filed it.
“Only the pawns of corruption have so far gone behind bars; the real kingpin of this chess game of graft is Kejriwal who still remains,” Bhatia said.