Two days after CBI raids on Manish Sisodia, Opposition corners AAP on alleged graft

Why is Kejriwal not acting against the corrupt, asks BJP; don’t hide behind education debate: Congress

Updated - August 22, 2022 11:33 am IST

Published - August 22, 2022 01:17 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate | Photo Credit: File Photo

The Opposition parties attacked AAP on Sunday, saying that it should not use Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s Education Ministry portfolio to shield him from allegations of graft in the Excise Department of which he is also the Minister.

Both the BJP and the Congress demanded Mr. Sisodia’s resignation in light of the CBI raids against him.

Since Friday’s CBI raids against Mr. Sisodia in connection with a case alleging irregularities in the State government’s now-withdrawn Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, the Opposition parties have upped their ante against AAP.

‘Liquor Capital’

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “AAP should stop hiding behind the education policy debate. The fundamental issue here is the liquor policy and how Delhi has been converted into the liquor capital of the country.”

Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta also trained his guns on AAP, questioning Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s promises against corruption.

“This is the first time in Independent India that the same Minister handles the education department as well as the excise department. Mr. Kejriwal used to say that if there is an allegation of corruption against any of his Ministers or leaders, he will sack him. What is the compulsion that even after his going to jail, Satyendar Jain can’t be fired from the Cabinet,” Mr. Gupta asked.

Also Read | Spirited battle: On AAP and the Delhi excise policy

“The manner in which public money was looted due to the excise policy in Delhi shows that Mr. Kejriwal, along with Mr. Sisodia, is also involved in that loot. Mr. Kejriwal’s hands are completely smeared with corruption, Mr. Gupta added.

‘Raised voice first’

Hitting out at the BJP, Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar said that the BJP had started speaking against the issue only a few ago, while the Congress had hit the streets soon after the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was implemented to ensure that the liquor policy does not ruin the Capital.

“Why were the BJP’s eight MLAs, seven MPs and three Mayors silent for so long? It was the Congress which held demonstrations against Delhi being turned into India’s liquor capital as opposed to ‘the city of flyovers’, which it had come to be popularly known as during the tenure of the late [ex-CM] Sheila Dikshit,” Mr. Kumar said.

He claimed that a blacklisted company from Madhya Pradesh company, which was allotted liquor vends in Delhi, was a “major donor” to the BJP, which had “admitted to such donations” in its disclosures to the Election Commission. Therefore, Mr. Kumar argued, the BJP leaders had been silent all along.

Also Read | How new excise policy turned into a political battleground in Delhi

“The company in question has not been mentioned in the CBI FIR. We want to know why?” Mr. Kumar said.

Meanwhile, BJP Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta accused Mr. Kejriwal of attempting to divert attention from corruption charges related to the excise policy by tweeting “an old story” regarding an alleged scam related to the procurement of Delhi Transport Corporation buses.

‘Diverting attention’

“The CM tweeted an old news report, which was based on “sources”, to create a perception that the government is getting absolved in corruption charges. The truth, however, is that the CBI has already begun investigating the DTC matter,” Mr. Gupta said.

The probe agency had filed a preliminary enquiry report over allegations of alleged corruption in the procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government last year.

The Rohini MLA is the complainant in a case of alleged corruption to the tune of ₹5,000 crore in the purchase of the DTC buses.

“The manner in which CM Kejriwal has tried to subvert the facts points to his own role in the corruption related to DTC bus purchase,” Mr. Gupta alleged.

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