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ED says calls between Kejriwal and accused are related to hawala operators | India news

NEW DELHI: The Justice Department on Tuesday told a Delhi court that it has direct conversations between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Vinod Chauhan, the man allegedly involved in the proceeds of crime related to hawala operators. Chauhan is an accused in a money laundering case in connection with the abolition of Delhi’s excise policy.

Referring to the talks, ED’s special advisor Zoheb Hossain alleged that Chauhan was close to Kejriwal. Chauhan was arrested by the Goa ED in connection with a May 4 case for allegedly providing cash bribe from South Group for AAP’s election campaign during the 2022 Goa assembly elections.

A Delhi court sent him to prison.

The court will decide to accept the additional charge sheet on June 4
The duty judge told the court that Vinod Chauhan was involved in transferring proceeds of crime worth Rs 25.5 crore. The agency added that an amount of Rs 1.06 crore was seized after searching Chauhan’s office.

The ED also submitted before the court of special judge Kaveri Baweja that Kejriwal was the “vertebrate” and the “master conspirator” in the case. “CM Kejriwal was part of a larger conspiracy to generate proceeds of crime. He ensured that there was no meaningful discussion,” the ED counsel told the court.

The ED made these comments while considering the supplementary charge sheet filed against Kejriwal and AAP in the money laundering case. The court reserved its decision on reviewing the additional indictment of June 4.

The agency also told the court that part of Kejriwal’s stay at a seven-star hotel in Goa was paid for from the proceeds of the alleged crime and the payment was facilitated by Charanpreet Singh, another accused in the case, who allegedly procured money from hawala traders, which was used during the Goa elections and for other purposes.

The ED further told the court that interested parties who were willing to invest but not ready to accept these demands were left out. It was alleged that the Punjab excise department was being used to extort bribes to the liquor industry in Delhi.

“There were several wholesalers in Punjab who refused to pay and were forced to suspend their operations. There was no reason for Mahadev Liquor to abandon its thriving business,” the agency said.

The ED lawyer added that Vijay Nair, former communications in-charge of AAP, claimed that under this policy he could secure favors in exchange for funds for AAP.

Elaborating on how AAP as a political entity can be prosecuted for money laundering, the ED said it could be done under the Representation of Citizens Act as a political party is an association of persons that meets the definition of an undertaking and can therefore be prosecuted.

“Kejriwal supported former AAP communications manager Vijay Nair, met people on behalf of the Delhi government and sought favors in the form of funds for the party,” the ED counsel said.