Delhi liquorgate: Manish Sisodia's judicial custody extended by 14 days
Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court on Monday extended the judicial custody of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia until April 3 in the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) case over the Delhi liquor policy scam. Currently, the AAP leader is under Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand till March 22 in connection with its money laundering probe into the alleged scam.
Why does this story matter?
- The CBI is looking into the corruption aspect of the Delhi liquor policy case, while the Enforcement Directorate is probing the money laundering angle in it.
- The agencies allege that Sisodia formulated a rigged liquor policy to favor a southern liquor cartel in exchange for Rs. 100 crore.
- However, the AAP labeled the investigation a political vendetta by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Extension of judicial custody must, probe at critical stage: CBI
The CBI informed the court that the probe is still ongoing and at a critical stage, adding that additional detention of Sisodia in judicial custody is essential, India Today reported. This comes two days after the ED alleged in court that the AAP leader was involved in the "large-scale destruction" of digital evidence to obstruct the inquiry and had replaced and destroyed 14 phones.
ED alleged policy based on 'imported' recommendations
On Friday, the ED sought a seven-day extension of Sisodia's custody in its remand application. The agency claimed that the major recommendations that formed the basis for the Excise Policy 2021-22, including fixing of 12% profit margin for wholesalers, were not decided in the group of ministers (GoM) meetings. It alleged the recommendations were instead "imported from external sources."
CBI arrested Sisodia over suspected irregularities in Delhi Excise Policy
The CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26 in connection with suspected irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Government of the National Capital Region of Delhi's (GNCTD) 2021-22 Excise Policy. The policy was approved by the Delhi Cabinet led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
AAP-led Delhi government's version of excise policy
In contrast to the probe agencies' allegations, the Delhi government claimed the policy was formed to maximize revenue collection, eliminate Delhi's illegal liquor sales, and improve user experience. It was rescinded last year when the CBI opened a case and booked Sisodia and 15 others.