Delhi News : Aam Aadmi Party reiterated its claim that the action by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the Delhi government was a result of the BJP fearing AAP’s national gains.
The political war of words over Delhi government’s now-recalled excise policy intensified on Sunday, with the Bharatiya Janata Party saying that the roots of the alleged scam will lead to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, even as the Aam Aadmi Party reiterated its claim that the action by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the Delhi government was a result of the BJP fearing AAP’s national gains.
Targeting Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said that “no one is above law”.
The AAP convener hit back at the BJP-led Centre, saying that the ruling party was fighting with all state governments and starts “the CBI-ED game” when it should be working with them to address the issues of unemployment and inflation.
The central agency on Friday carried out searches at deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s residence and at several other locations, a month after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended an investigation into the AAP government’s effort to bring in a new excise policy, citing a report from the chief secretary that alleged rules were ignored in the drafting of the policy.
On Sunday, Bhatia alleged that Kejriwal was busy indulging in corruption when Covid-affected people needed his help.
“Roots of the excise policy ‘scam’ lead to the doorstep of corrupt Kejriwal. No one is above the law and no corrupt person will be spared,” he said addressing reporters, adding that it is shameful Sisodia is saying it is a “small scam of ₹one crore only”.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, who also addressed the press conference, said: “Delhi’s excise policy has proved to be a corrupt one. Arvind Kejriwal is the kingpin of this entire scam.”
“It is seen for the first time in independent India that the Education Minister is the Liquor Minister,” Gupta said. Sisodia holds the excise, education and finance portfolios in the Delhi government.
“Sisodia Ji, look out notice is issued on a person who is involved in criminal cases and corruption so that he does not run away from the country,” Gupta said.
“You will be given a Look Out Circular not a Greeting Card for the corruption you’ve done,” he said hours after Sisodia, in a tweet, said that the probe agency had issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against him while hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him “what is this drama?”
“All of your raids failed, nothing found, could not find any financial bungling. Now you have issued a look out notice (as if) Manish Sisodia is not available. What is this drama, Modi ji?” Sisodia tweeted in Hindi.
“I am roaming freely in Delhi, tell me where to come? can’t you find me?” he added.
While the central agency said it has not issued any LOC against Sisodia “as of now”, officials, seeking anonymity, said that lookout circulars have been issued against eight people including Dinesh Arora, a close associate of Sisodia and Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Mumbai based event management firm Only Much Louder.
Calling for Sisodia and health minister Satyendar Jain to be dismissed from their ministerial berths, Bhatia said, “When the second wave of Covid pandemic arrived, the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured supply of medicines and improved healthcare infrastructure. Kejriwal should have paid attention to the need for medicines, beds and oxygen at that time, but his corrupt pen was busy signing the excise policy.”
Delhi’s health minister Jain was arrested in May by the Enforcement Directorate on money laundering charges.
Sisodia steered the 2021-22 excise policy introduced in November 2021. The policy overhauled the Capital’s liquor market and fetched the state government ₹8,919.59 crore, close to 27% more than the base price set for licence bids. It was aimed at making the process of purchasing liquor more consumer-friendly.
Chief minister Kejriwal, meanwhile, said a large number of people were joining the AAP over action against Sisodia.
“There is a lot of anger among the people across the country regarding the raid on Manish ji. A large number of people are joining the Aam Aadmi Party,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
In another tweet, the Delhi chief minister said the central government along with all the state governments should fight unemployment and inflation at a time when the common people are battling with price rise and millions of youth are unemployed in the country.
“Instead, they (Centre) are fighting with the whole country. Every morning, they (Centre) wake up and start the CBI-ED game,” he said, asking, “How will such a country progress?”
Sisodia, on Sunday, reiterated his claim that the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will be a battle between the AAP and the BJP.
“Ek mauka Kejriwal ko (a chance to Kejriwal),” has become a national-level talk, Sisodia told PTI. “People see Kejriwal as an alternative to Modi in 2024 because he talks about health, education and employment,” he said.
The CBI action against him and the ED action against Jain were initiated with the “single motive to stop Kejriwal otherwise”, said Sisodia.
“If the BJP-led Centre has interest in probing scam in excise policy, it should investigate who was behind conspiracy to change former LG’s stand two days before its implementation?,” he added.
The Congress, meanwhile, has demanded Sisodia’s resignation and alleged the BJP’s complicity in the matter.
“A company blacklisted in Madhya Pradesh has not been mentioned in the CBI FIR on the issue. We want to know why?” asked Delhi Congress President Anil Choudhary, demanding the resignation of both Sosodia and Jain.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “The AAP should stop hiding behind the education policy debate. The fundamental issue here is the liquor policy and how Delhi has been converted into the liquor capital of the country.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)