Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today came down heavily on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government and claimed that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is going to be arrested soon, possibly “in a matter of 3-4 days”.
Kejriwal was addressing a press conference hours after Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Vinay Kumar Jain, recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation over several procedural lapses with a deliberate intent to benefit private liquor barons and individuals “at the highest echelons of the government” through the AAP government’s Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
The L-G’s recommendation for a CBI probe is based on a report by the Delhi Chief Secretary of Delhi dated July 8, 2022, that flagged violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, the Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, the Delhi Excise Act 2009 and the Delhi Excise Rules 2010 besides causing a loss to the exchequer by extending post-tender undue benefits to liquor licensees for the year 2021-22.
It is this report that specifically names Manish Sisodia, the minister in-charge of the excise policy, accusing him of a “financial quid pro quo” with substantive financial implications.
The Chief Secretary’s report, sent to the L-G as well the Delhi CM, says that preliminary findings “indicate substantively of financial quid pro quo at the top political level, wherein the Minister In-charge of the Excise Department, Manish Sisodia, took and got executed, major decisions/actions in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications.”
Speaking to the media, Kejriwal said that he is aware that there is a case against Manish Sisodia which has the CBI has been asked to look into and further claimed that he will be arrested “very soon”.
“I had been informed 3-4 months ago that Manish Sisodia will be arrested soon. I had already informed the people about this through a press conference, my speeches and in the (Delhi) Assembly.
When I asked them (those who informed him) what Manish ji had done and what was the case against him, I was told there is no case against him yet. Nothing has been found…they are searching…building something (case against Sisodia).
“There is a new system that has been implemented in our country where it is first decided who needs to be sent to jail and then a fake and fabricated case is built against him, and he is then forced into jail.
This is the new order in town,” Kejriwal said, adding that the case against his deputy is “based on lies” with not an iota of truth in it. “I have known Manish Sisodia for 22 years now. He is a hardcore honest man and a true patriot,” Kejriwal said, lauding Sisodia for the transformation he has brought about in the education sector, especially in government-run schools in the national capital.
“We are not scared of going to jail. You (BJP) are the descendants of Savarkar who sought mercy from the Biritshers. We (AAP) are the descendants of Bhagat Singh, who never bowed down before the Biritsh. We are not scared of being sent to jail or even being hanged,” he said.
Accusing the BJP of indulging in a witch-hunt against the Aam Aadmi Party, Kejriwal referred to a litany of cases against AAP lawmakers, including Satyendar Jain and Sisodia. “They want to spoil our name. They want to prove that we are as corrupt as them. Ever since AAP won in Punjab, there is a wave of support for the party across the country.
They want to stop this growing support for AAP. They want to stop the good work happening in Delhi. This is why they are after us,” Kejriwal said.