Manish Sisodia's CBI questioning: Pressured to quit AAP, alleges leader
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday forced him to quit the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during his questioning in the Delhi excise policy scam case. This came after the investigation agency quizzed Sisodia for nine hours regarding the Delhi government's now-scrapped controversial liquor policy implemented last November, allowing only private partners to run liquor shops.
Why does this story matter?
- The CBI is probing alleged irregularities by Delhi's AAP administration in issuing liquor licenses on the recommendations of Delhi Lieutenant-Governor (LG) VK Saxena.
- AAP National Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has, however, alleged that the CBI is being used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to harass and intimidate its leaders and jail them till the Gujarat elections are over.
'Forced to quit AAP': Sisodia
Sisodia claimed the CBI forced him to quit the AAP for his name to be cleared in the case. He alleged that the officials told him if he didn't quit, his case could go like that of AAP minister Satyendar Jain—accused in a money laundering case—who was jailed in May. "The case...is just meant to make [BJP's] Operation Lotus a success," he claimed.
Investigation conducted with professionalism: CBI
Sisodia alleged the case and the investigation were fake and part of "Operation Lotus," a term used by opposition parties to refer to the poaching of their leaders by the BJP. Meanwhile, the CBI has denied Sisodia's allegations, saying his questioning was "carried out in a professional and legal manner." The agency added, "The investigation of the case will continue as per law."
BJP wants to jail Sisodia until Gujarat elections: Kejriwal
On the other hand, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the BJP wants to keep Sisodia in jail till the Gujarat Assembly elections, which are likely to be held by December, are over. The AAP, set to take on the BJP in the elections, alleged that the case against Sisodia is aimed at weakening the party's campaign in Gujarat.
Delhi government's liquor policy
The Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, which allegedly made government establishments withdraw from the business, was implemented last November. The Excise Department, through open bidding, issued 849 retail liquor licenses to private players across 32 zones. However, opposition parties like the BJP alleged corruption and opposed the policy. In July 2022, the AAP government scrapped the liquor policy after which the CBI probe was launched.