Continuing with its spate of attacks targeting the AAP government in Delhi over the alleged liquor policy scam, the BJP on Thursday released footage of a “sting operation” at a press conference in Delhi. In the sting operation aired at the presser, the BJP claimed that Rs 100 crore in cash was given by the liquor lobby to AAP for financing their election campaigns in Goa and Punjab.
The sting operation further claimed that as a result of the Arvind Kejriwal government’s new alcohol regime under the now withdrawn Excise Policy 2021-22, several retailers were driven out of business and benefitted only a handful of large players. The BJP alleged that the license fees were hiked from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 5 crore in a bid to kill small retailers.
Since the AAP government was not getting anything from the retailers, the establishment stopped providing a quota for wholesalers. Through the sting operation, the BJP further claimed that the commission rates for the wholesalers were hiked from 5% to 10%, while in Punjab the commission rates were hiked to 12%.
After the BJP aired the sting operation, Delhi’s deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called the whole exercise a “joke” and dared the BJP to give the video to CBI and get him arrested. “If they can’t give the video to the CBI, it can only suggest that they are trying to damage my reputation,” said Sisodia.
Sisodia, who is also in charge of Delhi’s excise department, has been under the scrutiny of the CBI and ED ever since he was named as the top accused in CBI’s FIR after the central probing agency had raided his residence last month. Nearly a month after the CBI raids, the ED raided Sisodia’s residence after it launched an investigation under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Along with Sisodia, the CBI had named 14 other individuals, including government officials and private individuals, in its FIR in connection with the alleged irregularities in the excise policy.
The CBI, in its FIR, stated that there were several policy framework irregularities and added that due process and necessary permissions weren’t taken from competent authorities before implementing the new liquor regime. The CBI further stated that financial kickbacks were involved as the liquor lobby benefitted out of the new policy, which came at a huge loss to the public exchequer.