Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made a startling claim after a nine-hour questioning session by the Central Bureau of Investigation today. Officials, who intended to question him about the Delhi government’s controversial liquor policy, had asked him to resign from the ruling Aam Aadmi party, Sisodia told reporters. They even threatened that his case could be like that of Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, who has been in jail since May after being charged in a money laundering case, he alleged. “They will CM you,” he quoted the officials as saying. The agency issued an immediate denial.
“CBI strongly refutes these allegations and reiterates that the examination of Shri Sisodia was carried out in a professional and legal manner strictly in accordance with the allegations against her in the FIR. The investigation of the case will continue according to law,” read a statement. shortly after Mr. Sisodia’s claims made headlines.
Arriving home after the marathon interrogation session that began at noon, Sisodia told reporters: “The excise policy was discussed, but they pressured me to give in. ‘These cases will continue like this. They will make you a CM.’ they said.”
“I told them I find joy when the son of a rickshaw puller joins IIT,” he said. “Today I understood that the CBI is not investigating any scam… the case against me is only aimed at making Operation Lotus a success,” he added.
AAP has claimed that the BJP had tried to launch “Operation Lotus” – toppling an opposition government by poaching its MLAs – in Delhi and Punjab. In Delhi, the party even tabled a resolution against him in the assembly last month.
The sources said that Mr. Sisodia was questioned about the alleged involvement of alcoholic beverage companies in the formulation of the alcoholic beverage policy. The agency also had questions about allegations that alcoholic beverage companies made a 12 percent profit in the process, of which 6 percent was sent to public servants through intermediaries such as businessman Abhishek Bonipally, based in New York. in Hyderabad.
The other big questions were about the alleged loss to the state in the process and the irregularities in the presentation of the policy, such as the cabinet’s authorization for the new rules after they were implemented.
In some relief to the AAP, which has been preparing for Sisodia’s arrest, the agency did not call him for a second session.
Mr. Sisodia’s house was the subject of multiple searches by the CBI in August after he got the go-ahead for the investigation from Delhi Deputy Governor VK Saxena. The Deputy Chief Minister is the main defendant in the case, which involves alleged bribing of political leaders by private actors in exchange for liquor store licenses.
AAP has stated that Mr. Sisodia will now be arrested in what it called a “political vendetta” by the BJP.
The BJP, AAP alleged, is “scared” by the outcome of the assembly election in Gujarat and wants to prevent key leaders from campaigning in the state.
Party boss and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the BJP plans to keep Mr. Sisodia in jail until after the Gujarat elections. But no jail can keep his deputy, he added. “Prison locks will be broken, Manish Sisodia will be free,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Earlier today, several AAP leaders, including MP Sanjay Singh, were delayed after staging a mass protest against the interrogation of Manish Sisodia. About 100 leaders and workers were arrested outside the CBI office.
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