AAP leader Manish Sisodia to be produced in court today
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is in the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) custody, will reportedly be produced in a local court on Monday. To recall, the probe agency arrested Sisodia on February 26 over alleged irregularities in formulating and implementing the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi's (GNCTD) now-scrapped 2021-22 Excise Policy.
Why does this story matter?
- Notably, Sisodia is the latest on a long list of opposition leaders detained by a central agency in recent months.
- Previously, he approached the Supreme Court to challenge his arrest, but it refused to intervene, saying Sisodia had enough legal remedies before approaching the apex court.
- Later, Sisodia moved Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court for regular bail, scheduled to be heard on March 10.
CBI's allegations against Sisodia
The CBI has claimed that under the now-scrapped Delhi Liquor Policy, which Sisodia played a key role in formulating, the AAP bypassed laws to extend undue favors to liquor traders in favor of kickbacks. It also alleged that the party used these funds for its election campaigns. Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena sought a CBI probe into the case in July 2022.
Rouse Avenue Court earlier extended CBI custody
The Rouse Avenue Court on Saturday extended the CBI remand of Sisodia in the liquor scam case. The Special Judge MK Nagpal granted two additional days of remand of the former Delhi deputy CM to the central probe agency. He has been charged under multiple Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
CBI making me sit 9-10 hours daily: Sisodia in court
During the court hearing earlier, Sisodia revealed that the CBI officials were taking care of him, treating him respectfully, and not using any third-degree treatment on him. "But they are making me sit so long 9-10 hours daily and asking the same questions again and again... it is not less than mental harassment," the AAP leader stated.
Sisodia's resignation as Delhi deputy CM
Following his arrest, Sisodia officially resigned as the Delhi deputy chief minister on February 28. In his resignation, the 51-year-old called the reported allegations against him "false" and claimed that it was unfortunate that he was being framed despite his honest work over the past eight years. He also added that the allegations were a conspiracy of "weak" and "cowardly people."
Contents of Sisodia's resignation letter to Kejriwal
"It is unfortunate that despite working with honesty and truthfulness continuously for eight years, corruption charges are being leveled against me. I and my God know that all these allegations are false," Sisodia stated in his resignation letter to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. He added, "I am not their target, you (Kejriwal) are their target."
Here's why Delhi government reverted to old liquor policy
After receiving a lot of backlash from the opposition, educational institutions, civil society, etc., the Kejriwal-led government decided to revert to the previous liquor policy in July 2022. However, a massive controversy erupted after claims that the 2021-22 excise policy was used to extend undue economic favors to the liquor licensees, much after the tenders were granted, triggering a huge loss to the exchequer.
CS Naresh Kumar's report triggered Delhi L-G to order probe
L-G Saxena ordered a probe into the Delhi government's controversial 2021-22 Delhi excise policy based on a report filed by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar that claimed numerous policy violations. Furthermore, in July 2022, Saxena also recommended a CBI investigation into the alleged violations and procedural flaws while implementing the now-scrapped liquor policy.
Probe agencies claim southern cartel involved in scam
In recent months, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI detained numerous people in the alleged liquor policy scam case, including traders from south India. Some key individuals named in the case are related to the political rivals of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), namely Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha and Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSRCP MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy's son Magunta Raghava.