The Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, got arrested for a Delhi liquor policy case. CBI took him into custody after they found evidence of his involvement in the same issue. The CBI probe started when Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena demanded a CBI inquiry after noticing some irregularities in the liquor policy. Now, Sisodia is facing the allegations that he had provided extra benefits to the liquor vend license holder in return for a commission.
The CBI lodged the FIR on August 17 and raided thirty-one locations. But now, Sisodia, the head of the excise portfolio in the Delhi Cabinet, has come under the scanner. Although the arrest has not been a surprise, it has threatened the AAP significantly.
Why is Sisodia under the scanner?
When the CBI officials asked Sisodia about several aspects of the excise policy, he could not give a proper reply. He is also under the scanner because of his alleged contact with Dinesh Arora, who is associated directly with the case. Also, during the eight hours grilling, the Central Bureau of Investigation presented several digital and documentary pieces of evidence. But according to the CBI officials, he could not cooperate with the investigating officers.
According to some sources, additional provisions got included in the Delhi Liquor policy draft, which was missing in the first draft. When asked that question, Sisodia only replied, “I don’t know.”
According to a statement from the excise department officer, Sisodia had a significant role in tweaking the final draft. After the Forensic department’s report, it was clear that the additional provisions added later came through WhatsApp.
The Central Investigation Bureau has also decided to take action against the senior and second-in-command Minister of the Aam Aadmi Party based on a bureaucrat’s statement. A top bureaucrat has also stated that Manish Sisodia had a significant role in adding the additional provisions in the final draft of the Delhi liquor scam.
How is AAP reacting to the arrest?
Manish Sisodia is not only the right hand of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal but has also been a great help to him throughout his life. Amidst all the chaos, AAP has announced a nationwide protest against the arrest. On the other hand, Sisodia has been showing no fear, but a CBI source has also informed that he has been incapable of answering the questions correctly. Most of his answers were, “I do not know.”
The AAP has decided to protest on Monday. But the biggest challenge for the Police is maintaining law and order. Sisodia, during his arrest, said that his wife has always supported him and his family stands by him. He also tried to imply that he had no fear of arrest.
The AAP and BJP conflict regarding the case
Manish Sisodia has been the face of changing the Delhi school system, and that is why some AAP party members call him the best education minister in India. BJP and AAP have always been at the edge of conflict. Now, amidst Sisodia’s arrest, the dispute between these two parties has got the fuel. While the AAP is blaming CBI by saying that BJP has been controlling the investigation agency, BJP is putting pressure on the pressed charges. According to a report, Manish Sisodia was grilled for hours but could not come up with convincing answers.
How can it affect the Aam Aadmi Party?
Manish Sisodia has been not only one of the most senior party members of the Aam Aadmi Party but also a great confidant to Mr Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi. When no one believed in dictatorial policies, Sisodia showed unconditional loyalty towards him. As the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Sisodia oversees eighteen out of twenty-nine excises in Delhi.
With the Sunday arrest of Sisodia, the Aam Aadmi Party is in a dilemma who will take care of the Budget announcement? Since Sisodia has always been the most substantial part of the Budget meetings and the announcement of the final Budget, the Budget, which is supposed to come out in March, is having hindrances on the way.
The immediate problem that the Aam Aadmi Party is now facing is finding a replacement for Manish Sisodia for presenting the upcoming annual Budget. According to a report, the party has decided to replace Sisodia with Delhi’s Revenue Minister, Mr Kaislash Gahlot. He is expected to present the Budget for 2023 to 2024.
An Aam Aadmi Party functionary has stated that “there was a possibility that the CBI may arrest the deputy chief minister; Gahlot was attending budget-related meetings for the last few days.” It shows the possibility of Gahlot presenting the Budget in the upcoming month.
Also, Sisodia has been the face of the AAP for a long time. With the arrest on Sunday, there is no doubt that the reputation of the entire Aam Aadmi Party is facing a problem now.
With Manish Sisodia’s arrest on Sunday for the Delhi liquor policy case, there have been some unexpected twists and turns in Delhi politics. While the two main political parties are face to face and, therefore, blame each other, the CBI has no intention of letting Sisodia go so quickly. The agency is expected to get the Minister’s custody on Monday for the next few days.
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