NEW DELHI: Enforcement Directorate has claimed that Vinod Chauhan, the man allegedly handling the proceeds of crimes connected with hawala operators in the Delhi excise policy case, is “very much a close associate” of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The agency said this in its reply filed in a Delhi court hearing the regular bail plea of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
ED, in its 182-page reply filed in the court of special judge Kaveri Baweja on Friday, has stated that Chauhan’s proximity to Kejriwal is evident from the fact that he was managing postings for officers in Delhi Jal Board through the CM.
The agency submitted what it claimed to be chats between Kejriwal and Chauhan, who was allegedly responsible for the transfer of Rs 25.5 crore from Delhi to Goa.
“It is pertinent to note that Vinod Chauhan is not an unrelated person, unknown or unassociated with the AAP leaders but is very much a close associate of accused Arvind Kejriwal. Examination of the digital device of Chauhan has revealed chats revealing a close relationship between Chauhan and Arvind Kejriwal,” said ED. Referring to the chats, it said that the “acknowledgement” by Delhi CM was proof that he was closely associated with Chauhan.
“Further, Chauhan’s proximity is also visible from the fact that he was managing postings for officers in Delhi Jal Board through Arvind Kejriwal. The same is evident from the below chat (submitted in court) and also the screenshot of an official note of Delhi govt which approved such postings,” the agency said.
ED claimed that Kejriwal had personally utilised part of the proceeds of crime (PoC) of an amount of Rs 45 crore as another accused in the matter, Chanpreet Singh, booked a room for him at a five-star hotel in Goa in November 2021. It added that Singh has not been able to give any reason for this payment.
“In this manner, it is evident that Arvind Kejriwal is directly and deeply associated with persons such as Chauhan and Singh involved in the hawala transfers of the PoC of this case and thus with the hawala transfers of the PoC itself,” ED said in its reply.
Citing the screenshots of many hawala note numbers which have been retrieved from the phone of Chauhan, ED stated that those match with the note numbers mentioned in the IT seized data. The agency argued that this shows how Chauhan was actually involved in the transfer of the proceeds of crime from Delhi to Goa which was collected/coordinated by Chanpreet Singh in Goa.
Calling this “a complete and direct money trail” of the transfer of proceeds of crime from the South group to AAP for the Goa elections, ED claimed there were screenshots of hawala money transfers between Chauhan and another accused, Abhishek Boinpally, and other hawala operators.
ED has claimed that AAP is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged Delhi liquor scam, adding that part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 45 crore in cash has been used in campaigning for the Goa assembly elections in 2022.
The agency said that in this manner, the party has committed the offence of money laundering through its national convener, Kejriwal. It also claimed that Kejriwal was “ultimately responsible” for the funds being used for election expenses, including what was incurred in the Goa elections which is relevant for his complaint and also their generation.
ED said Kejriwal, while being on interim bail, has violated the conditions imposed by Supreme Court in its order dated May 10, 2024. “The applicant was explicitly barred from commenting on his role in the ongoing case. However, the applicant has brazenly and flagrantly violated this condition by giving multiple interviews, speeches and press conferences while calling the present case false, made-up and a conspiracy,” said the ED.
The agency also pointed out that when certain L1 wholesalers were not agreeing to give kickbacks to AAP in Delhi, their businesses were targeted in Punjab through state officials.