Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday told the Enforcement Directorate that he would be willing to answer the probe agency’s questions in connection with the liquor excise policy case after March 12 via video conference, reported The Indian Express.

Kejriwal was summoned by the central agency on February 27 for the eighth time and asked to appear before it on March 4. He had skipped the seventh summons on February 26.

On Monday, Kejriwal wrote to the Enforcement Directorate and said that the summons were “illegal” but he was ready for an online interrogation. In response, the central agency has said that there is no provision for questioning via video conferencing, NDTV reported.

The Aam Aadmi Party, after Kejriwal was sent the seventh summons, had said that the matter was up for hearing in a Delhi court on March 16. “Instead of sending summons daily, the Enforcement Directorate should wait for the court’s decision,” the party said.

On February 3, the central agency approached a Delhi court after Kejriwal skipped the summons for the fifth time.

Kejriwal appeared before the court via video conference on February 17. The Delhi chief minister submitted that he could not appear physically before the court because of the trust vote motion tabled in the Assembly and the Budget Session.

The court exempted him from appearing physically and listed the matter for hearing on March 16.

Liquor policy case

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging irregularities in the Delhi government’s liquor excise policy, which has been scrapped.

The policy came into effect in November 2021. It was withdrawn on July 30, 2022, with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the regime.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified the liquor excise policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.

The Enforcement Directorate has also claimed that members of a so-called South Group had paid at least Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party through businessman Vijay Nair.

Two senior Aam Aadmi Party leaders – Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh – are currently in jail in connection with the case. Kejriwal has skipped five summons by the Enforcement Directorate.