Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain quit Delhi Cabinet; Kejriwal accepts resignation
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who are both currently under arrest, resigned from the Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday. CM Arvind Kejriwal has reportedly accepted their resignations. This came shortly after the Supreme Court refused to entertain Sisodia's bail plea against his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday in the alleged Delhi Liquor Policy scam.
Why does this story matter?
- Despite being arrested in May last year, Jain remained in his position up until now, despite pressure from the opposition on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government.
- Notably, if Sisodia and Jain are sentenced to two years or more in prison, they will lose their seats and will not be able to contest polls for six years.
BJP leaders demanded Sisodia and Kejriwal to resign
After Sisodia's arrest by the CBI, Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri demanded Sisodia's resignation, alleging that the latter bent rules to favor liquor mafias for kickbacks. He demanded that Kejriwal must resign as Chief Minister as well. Similar calls were made by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, who claimed Sisodia was directly implicated in the alleged scam.
What portfolios did the arrested leaders hold
Jain was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over allegations of money laundering. He held several portfolios including health, prisons, power, public works department (PWD), and industries. Sisodia looked after education, finance, labor, and all other portfolios not specifically allotted to any other minister.
CBI began probing liquor policy on L-G's order
The CBI has alleged that under the Delhi Liquor Policy, which Sisodia was instrumental in formulating, the AAP bypassed rules to extend undue favors to liquor traders in lieu of kickbacks, which the party used in election campaigning. The investigation in the case began after L-G Saxena directed the probe agencies to investigate alleged corruption in the policy, based on Delhi's Chief Secretary's report.
Jain was reportedly leading luxurious lifestyle in prison
On a related note, jailed conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, in his letter to Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) VK Saxena, claimed to have paid Rs. 10 crore to Jain as "protection money." The ED submitted in court CCTV footage from Tihar Jail, where Jain is imprisoned, alleging that he was leading a luxurious lifestyle and meeting other accused regularly to influence the investigation in his case.