CBI files chargesheet in Delhi excise policy scam, does not name Manish Sisodia

Arvind Kejriwal insists the ‘scam’ is BJP’s attempt to defame Manish Sisodia, while the CBI maintains it has not given a clean chit to anyone

November 26, 2022 04:00 am | Updated 04:00 am IST - New Delhi

File picture of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

File picture of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed a chargesheet in a Delhi court against seven persons in the Excise Policy scam. The Central agency framed charges against Aam Aadmi Party’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair and the then Deputy Commissioner (Excise) Kuldeep Singh and then Assistant Commissioner (Excise) Narender Singh. Interestingly, Delhi deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has not been named in the chargesheet.

Others named in the chargesheet are Abhishek Boinpally, Arun R. Pillai, Mootha Gautham, Sameer Mahendru.

Sources from the CBI said that the accused have been charged under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI maintained that searches were earlier conducted at the premises of the accused in various locations, which led to the recovery of incriminating documents/articles, digital records etc.

Commenting on skipping the framing of charges against Mr. Sisodia, CBI officials said that further investigation is going on in the matter and this is just a first chargesheet.

“We haven’t given any clean-chit to anyone,” said CBI officials.

Reacting to the filing of the chargesheet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the alleged excise policy scam was “fake” and was an attempt by the BJP to frame Mr. Sisoida as the CBI found nothing in its investigation.

“Manish’s name is not in the CBI chargesheet. The whole case is fake. Nothing was found in the raids. A total of 800 officers found nothing in the probe for four months. Manish offered hope of a good future to crores of poor children in the country through a revolution in education. I am sorry that a conspiracy was hatched to defame such a person by implicating him in a false case,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi. Mr. Sisoida said that over 800 officers were sent by the Central government to investigate the liquor policy but had found nothing as there was no liquor scam.

FIR details

The FIR was related to alleged irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of Delhi, said a CBI official. “It was further alleged that irregularities were committed, including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licencees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc,” official communication from CBI says.

The Excise Department had allegedly decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about ₹30 crore to a successful tenderer against the existing rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, waiver on tendered licence fee was allowed due to COVID-19 from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, allegedly causing a loss of Rs.144.36 crore to the exchequer.

It further added that Illegal gains on count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts.

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