It was not made clear whether those questioned were excise officials named by the CBI in its FIR on the matter or liquor vendors arraigned as accused.
“More people are being summoned in the next few days for questioning. The investigation is in the initial stages. The documents recovered during searches conducted on Friday are being scrutinised,” a CBI officer said.
The premises searched by CBI Friday included those linked to former Delhi Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and former Deputy Excise Commissioner Anand Tiwari.
In a corruption FIR, the CBI named 15 people, with Sisodia’s name at the top of the list.
The FIR stated that Praveen Kumar Rai, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs “has conveyed directions of competent authority for enquiry into the matter of irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD of Delhi for the year 2021-22”.
“He has also forwarded a letter of L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena alleging irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy. The OM is enclosed herewith, which discloses that Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM; Arava Gopi Krishna, then Commissioner (Excise); Anand Tiwari, then Deputy Commissioner (Excise); and Pankaj Bhatnagar, Assistant Commissioner (Excise) 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 FIR stated.
Citing “reliable sources”, the CBI, in its FIR, stated that “some of the L-1 licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-initio intention to divert the funds as undue pecuniary advantage to public servants. In furtherance to this, they are showing false entries in their books of accounts to keep their record straight”.
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The FIR named three “close associates” of Sisodia and said they “are actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licencees to accused public servants”.
The CBI said the “facts prima facie disclose commission of offences punishable under section 120-B, 477A IPC and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (as amended in 2018) on the part of (the named accused) and other unknown public servants and private persons”.