Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with alleged corruption in the now-withdrawn liquor policy of Delhi. He will be produced in court Monday morning. Sisodia was arrested at 7:15 pm IST, after an 8-hour marathon grilling the entire day by the CBI.
Before setting out for the day in the morning, Sisodia mentioned that he is ready for a seven to eight months in jail. “I don’t care if I have to stay in jail for a few months. I am a follower of Bhagat Singh who was hanged for the country,” he had tweeted.
The Delhi Police made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order in case of an arrest, including the deployment of personnel outside his house and outside the CBI office. In the morning, a protest by the Aam Aadmi Party was dispersed by the police and several leaders and workers detained.
Sisodia’s party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured that his family will be looked after. “When you go to jail for the country and society, it is not a curse, it is a glory. I pray to God that you return from jail soon. Children, parents and all of us in Delhi will be waiting for you,” he tweeted.
Sisodia handles the Finance portfolio in the Arvind Kejriwal government. He was asked to appear before the CBI last Sunday for questioning, but he sought more time, citing the Delhi budget on which he is working.
“The summons for questioning are the BJP’s way of getting even after it failed in its attempt to get nominated members to vote in Delhi’s civic body and thereby control the Mayoral elections,” he observed earlier in the day.
The arrest follows his alleged role in bringing in a new liquor sale policy in the national capital. The CBI has named seven accused in the liquor policy case chargesheet, which, however, has no mention of Sisodia.
The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing of the 2021 liquor policy in exchange for kickbacks. The policy that was formed would have led to a 12 per cent profit for them, of which 6 per cent was routed to public servants through middlemen like Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Bonipally.
The ED has also launched an investigation, alleging laundering of the kickbacks. It claimed a liquor lobby, it dubbed the “South Group,” paid at least ₹ 100 crore to AAP for its Goa election campaign.
Meanwhile, the BJP charged the Delhi government retracted and went back to the old liquor sale policy to cover up corruption in the excise department held by Sisodia.