The CBI’s move to conduct a raid at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence Friday (August 19) in connection with alleged irregularities in the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s now-withdrawn new excise policy has followed a string of investigations that the central agency has launched against the AAP ministers and their aides in various cases since 2015.
In a number of these cases so far the CBI has filed chargesheets, even as the agency has also closed several cases for lack of evidence.
AAP in the CBI crosshairs: Delhi ministers face a slew of agency probes since 2015, several slapped ahead of polls
In December 2015, ten months after the AAP had first stormed to power in Delhi by bagging 67 of the total 70 Assembly seats, the CBI raided the office premises of CM Kejriwal’s then principal secretary Rajendar Kumar in a case of alleged corruption. The raid had sparked a major row that saw a livid Kejriwal calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward and a psychopath” over it.
A year later, the agency filed a chargesheet against Kumar, alleging he along with other accused entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015. Its FIR also claimed that the officials had taken “undue benefit” of over Rs 3 crore while awarding the contracts. Kumar later took voluntary retirement from the IAS.
As the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s raid at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence was underway on Friday, the CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal started a media address by congratulating the nation over a front-page news report published by the New York Times on the AAP government’s efforts to improve Delhi’s education system.
Kejriwal then made it clear that the CBI’s action against Sisodia was expected and that his party will not back down from what he increasingly sees as its role: a challenger to the Narendra Modi-led BJP.
BJP’s challenger role in its sights, AAP braces to ride out Sisodia, Jain storm
During his eight-minute address, Kejriwal mentioned the CBI’s raid only once – just to say that the central agency should be allowed to do its job, claiming that they would not find anything against education minister Sisodia.
Since the AAP swept the Punjab Assembly election early this year, thereby becoming only the second party after the Congress to be in power in more than one state, Kejriwal and his party have been more than willing to take on Modi and the BJP head-on.