Delhi, February 26:
In a big jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was on Sunday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over his alleged involvement in the Delhi excise policy case. Sisodia was grilled for over eight hours before his arrest. The entire questioning of Sisodia by the CBI was videographed. AAP – after the arrest — accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conducting a witch-hunt against its leaders. The party said Sisodia was arrested in a false case.
Sources said Manish Sisodia was called for questioning after three months following a statement recorded by a senior excise department official – who in his statement said Sisodia tailored Delhi’s liquor policy. Sisodia was first questioned in October last year by the CBI.
The probe agency had previously called Sisodia for questioning on February 19. AAP leader, who is also Delhi’s Finance Minister, however, sought a week’s time for making Delhi Budget. The CBI had agreed to his request.
On August 17, last year, the CBI had registered a case against Manish Sisodia, then excise department officials and businessmen on charges of cheating, and bribery in the new excise policy (2021-22), which was later shelved. On August 19, the CBI raided the residence of Manish Sisodia and three other members of the AAP.
Before his arrest, Sisodia asked AAP to take care of his family
Earlier, ahead of his questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in alleged liquor scam, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia got emotional, when he — apprehending his arrest — asked his party workers to take care of his wife and son.
Addressing the party workers, outside the CBI headquarters, Sisodia said his wife had all along been supporting him during the ups and downs of his life.
“There were many ups and downs in my life. In all these ups and downs, my wife always stood by me. Today, if they send me to jail, my wife will be left alone at home. I am saying this because my son is studying in the University. She (my wife) is not well,” said Sisodia who requested party workers to take care of his family.
In his message to the Delhi school students, the AAP leader who is also the Education Minister, said, “I want to say this to the children that if your Education Minister, your ‘Manish Chacha’ goes to jail, don’t think there will be holidays in schools. There won’t be holidays. I want you (Children) to work hard, study hard and don’t trouble your parents.”
He added, “Even if I go to jail, I will get all information on whether children are studying or not. So, if I get to know that children are becoming irresponsible over studies, I will give up on eating food inside the jail. I know that you (children) don’t want to upset me.”
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, responding to the emotional speech by Sisodia, tweeted,” We will take care of your family Manish. Don’t worry.”
AAP workers detained
As many as 50 AAP workers and prominent leaders – including MP Sanjay Singh and Delhi minister Gopal Rai – were detained by the Delhi Police for allegedly violating section 144 of the CrPC. The AAP workers were holding a protest outside the CBI headquarters while Sisodia was questioned by the CBI.
Attempt to finish Kejriwal: Raghav Chadha
AAP Senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said the entire country was aware that only Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal could defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the electoral battle, therefore, BJP was making all possible attempts to use the CBI and ED to attack AAP leaders including Manish Sisodia to finish Kejriwal.
“The ED and CBI conducted raids at Manish Sisodia’s house in Delhi, ancestral village, bank lockers, and all the addresses of his friends and relatives. But BJP’s investigating agencies did not find any money. This is because all these allegations are completely false and fabricated,” said Punjab MP during a press conference.