Escalating the BJP’s attack on Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is facing allegations of corruption in the rollout of a liquor policy recently withdrawn by the Delhi government, Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday termed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal the “kingpin” of the “liquor scam” while the former is accused number one.
Posing a question to Sisodia, Thakur asked: “Was Delhi’s liquor policy made by liquor contractors or liquor sympathisers?”
The Union minister further alleged: “Corruption could be seen from Delhi to Punjab. This is the government of revdi (freebies) and bewde (drunkards). The country has seen the face of accused number one Sisodia ji and kingpin Kejriwal ji.”
Taking a further jibe at Sisodia, Thakur called him “Money Shh”, alleging that he “makes money and maintains silence”.
Claiming that “some people are engaged in earning money from liquor mafia while we are distributing vaccines”, Thakur said: “I want to tell media friends that the subject is about liquor corruption and Sisodia is accused number one. Kejriwal ji and Manish Sisodia are talking about everything but not liquor policy.”
“I have three questions with Manish Sisodia and Kejriwal ji. If the manufacturing company were not allowed to take contract in retail then why did you give them contract? Why did you give contract to cartel company to sell liquor? Were blacklisted companies given contract or not?” he asked.
The Union Minister also countered Sisodia’s claims that it will be BJP vs AAP in the 2024 general elections. “They could not open account in UP and Uttarakhand. They will not be able to open account in Himachal and Gujarat. They have been hit wicket,” Thakur said.
Earlier in the day, Sisodia claimed that they were being targeted because their worry is Kejriwal who has gained the love of the people of this country and has emerged as a “national option”. “They are not concerned about any scam in the excise policy. They are scared of Kejriwal who has gained the love of people, specially after the party’s victory in Punjab assembly elections.
“They want to stop the good work being done in education and health sectors. They first arrested Satyendar Jain who was holding the charge of the health portfolio and I will also be arrested in the next couple of days,” he claimed.
Sisodia termed the Excise Policy 2021-22 as the “best policy”, and said there was “no wrongdoing” in its implementation but a conspiracy to scare Kejriwal.
“This is not befitting of a prime minister who has got the people’s mandate. The difference between Kejriwal and Modi is that the former thinks about poor people and the latter thinks about his select friends.
“Kejriwal appreciates those who do good work but Modi only dreams of making state governments fall and using central agencies like CBI and ED to target those who are doing good,” he said.
The CBI searches came 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.
The Lt Governor’s recommendation followed a report submitted by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on the matter. The report, which officials said was submitted on July 8, alleged that undue benefits were provided to liquor vend licencees.
The report alleged that the excise department decided to allow a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore to the liquor cartel, on the tendered licence fee,under the excuse of the
Covid pandemic. The report also alleged that decisions taken by the excise department did not have the approval of the competent authority, which is
the Cabinet and, subsequently, the Lt Governor.
With PTI inputs