AAP accuses ED of deleting audio from CCTV footage of interrogation; ED sources refute charge

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday accused the Enforcement Directorate of "deleting" audio recordings of CCTV interrogation in the excise policy case. ED sources have refuted the charge.

AAP leader and Delhi minister Atishi made the allegations against the agency at a press conference and called the entire probe a "scam" in itself.

She cited a 2020 order of the Supreme Court and said it was mandatory for investigating agencies to have audio-visual CCTV footage of interrogation.

Enforcement Directorate sources refuted claims that audio recordings were "deleted" from the statement of an accused in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, adding that the agency will take a "legal recourse" against the minister for levelling such allegations.

They said the footage was recorded in video-only format during interrogation as the CCTV system did not have an audio recording facility at the time.

Audio recordings were added to the video capturing system of the ED interrogation process only in October last year, the sources said.

Atishi claimed that despite an investigation of two years, ED has not been able to recover anything in the excise policy case.

"For the past two years, AAP leaders have been threatened like this. In the name of ‘liquor scam’, investigating agencies CBI and ED have been raiding AAP leaders now and then in Delhi. But despite such investigations for nearly two years, ED has not been able to find anything," she said.

She claimed "many accused, witnesses, and government witnesses have come forward and said that they were pressured" to record their statements.

Atishi alleged that an accused in the excise policy case had applied in court and sought CCTV footage because he was investigated by the ED once along with a government witness.

"During that investigation, statements were given, and there was a CCTV camera installed in the room.

"However, it was found that the statement produced in court and what happened during the investigation in the room is completely different. Also, when ED gave the footage, it deleted the audio of the footage. ED deleted all the conversations that happened in that room, and evidence was tampered with," she alleged.

She claimed that the party had learnt from trusted sources that "all the audio files of the footage of investigations done by the ED in the past one and a half years have been deleted by the ED".

"It is clear today to everyone that this is not the investigation of a scam, but this ED investigation is a scam in itself. Today I want to ask ED as to who is the ED trying to save by deleting these audio files?" Atishi said.

"What ED is trying to hide by deleting all the audio recordings of the past one and a half years? Provide details of all the audio files of the investigation that are available with ED at the present date. If ED fails to do so, then it will be clear that this investigation is a complete fraud," she added.

Atishi said they have filed an application in the special courts of both agencies and have demanded these audio-visual recordings.

Echoing similar views, her cabinet colleague Saurabh Bharadwaj asked the Enforcement Directorate to issue an official statement on the recordings.

"They should name the officer who was involved in this (not keeping the audio recordings). The Supreme Court had said in 2020 that there should be audio-video recordings of interrogations by investigating agencies. Instead of source-based statements, the agency should give an official statement.

"If any contempt of court proceedings have to be carried out, they will be carried out against an officer," he added.

The apex court had in its 2020 order asked all police stations and investigation agencies including the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, to install CCTV cameras with night vision and audio recording on their premises so that no area is left uncovered.

AAP leader Jasmine Shah said that the excise policy case is the only case where not even a single penny has been recovered despite the ED conducting raids across the country. PTI SLB VIT RT RT

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