TWO DAYS after the CBI conducted searches at his residence, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Sunday that the intention was not to investigate corruption charges but to target him. He also said that the Union government would not be able to stall the AAP government’s ongoing work in Delhi “unless you kill us”.
On Friday, the CBI conducted searches at 31 locations, including Sisodia’s residence, in connection with a case it has registered against him and several excise officers in the Capital over alleged corruption in the rollout of a liquor policy recently withdrawn by the Delhi government.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Sunday, Sisodia said: “It is clear that their intention is not to fight or talk about corruption. Being Arvind Kejriwal’s education minister, Manish Sisodia needs to be arrested. This is my crime and this is their intent. Look at the way the raid was conducted, the allegations that are being made. They are quoting figures like Rs 8,000 crore, Rs, 10,000 crore, Rs 1,000 crore. They are saying that one company transferred money to another company’s bank account and that is proof of Manish Sisodia’s corruption”.
“Their intent is to jail all the people associated with Kejriwal. Good work was happening in the health sector, they jailed the health minister (Satyendar Jain). People are praising the work done in education, so the same morning that the world was reading about the work the Delhi government has done in education in the New York Times, they raided my house. Let them investigate. These are all matters of investigation now,” he said.
Addressing the Centre, he said: “It is my challenge, you will not be able to stop us, unless you kill us.”
Asked about the functioning of the Delhi government, with Health Minister Satyendar Jain in custody and the likelihood of his arrest, Sisodia said: “One must ask how the government is going to function to those who are making these false allegations. What has happened to Modiji that all he thinks about is whose house to send the CBI and ED to in the Kejriwal government. Why is this all he can think about? There are issues of price rise, unemployment, education and health in this country. Modiji thinks his whole job is to decide which of Kejriwal’s minister do they have to send the CBI and ED to next.”
Sisodia said he was in touch with CBI officials, adding that his phone, computer and some official files had been seized.
In its FIR, the CBI has named 15 people, with Sisodia’s name at the top of the list. The FIR states that the accused were “instrumental in recommending and taking decisions pertaining to excise policy for the year 2021-22 without approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender”.
The development comes less than a month after Delhi Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, putting Sisodia, in-charge of the excise department, directly in the line of fire. Following this, the Delhi government announced it was withdrawing the policy.
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The Lt Governor’s recommendation followed a report submitted by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on the matter.