Centre trying to derail Delhi’s health, education revolution: Kejriwal

There have been raids and investigations against us earlier too, nothing came out of them, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

August 19, 2022 10:36 pm | Updated 11:21 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shows a New York Times report on Delhi’s education system. Photo: Twitter/@ArvindKejriwal via PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shows a New York Times report on Delhi’s education system. Photo: Twitter/@ArvindKejriwal via PTI

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday accused the Central government of going after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia through the CBI to “derail Delhi’s education and health revolution” even as the investigation agency raided his deputy’s residence.

Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had recommended a CBI investigation into “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” in the revamped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 on July 22 following which the AAP government had decided to scrap it.

As already reported by The Hindu, Mr. Sisodia’s role was under the lens in regard to the proposed CBI probe for allegedly providing “undue financial favours” to individuals and firms provided liquor retail licences under the new policy.

On the other hand, a Directorate of Vigilance (DoV) report on the matter, which has been accessed by The Hindu, indicted Mr. Sisodia for alleged departure from procedure by creating multiple files to reduce the number of dry days in Delhi from 21 to 3 of which seven Excise department officials, including then Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, an IAS officer, were also allegedly a part.

Cites NYT report

Citing a report in TheNew York Timesand without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr. Kejriwal accused the Centre of “sending the CBI” to the Excise Minister’s doorstep as part of a “witch-hunt” at a time when the world was praising him “as the best Education Minister.”

“America’s biggest newspaper The New York Times published our Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s photo on its front page, appreciated Delhi’s Education Model; I congratulate the whole country, it is a matter of pride; but it is shameful that the Centre sent the CBI behind Manish Sisodia hours after the news was published,” the Chief Minister said.

“We welcome the CBI with open arms, we will fully cooperate with them; there have been raids and investigations against us earlier too, nothing came out of them, we’ll come out clear this time too,” he added.

Delhi’s education and healthcare model, Mr. Kejriwal said, was being discussed globally and the Centre wanted to stop the Capital’s progress in this regard which was why Delhi’s Health and Education Ministers were “being raided and arrested.”

Whoever had tried to “do some good” politically in the 75 years since Independence, the Chief Minister added, was stopped by “these people”, that is the country’s politicians, who “let India lag behind.”

Nation-wide campaign

“Delhi’s progress won’t stop, no matter what. We have to form an alliance of 130 crore Indians, let us all come together to Make India No 1, give a missed call on 9510001000 and join our fight,” the Delhi Chief Minister said, launching the AAP’s nationwide “Make India No. 1” campaign which he inaugurated earlier his week.

“God is with us; no one can stop us 130 crore Indians from getting together and making India No 1. If we leave the country in the control of these leaders and their parties then we’ll go behind for another 75 years. All of us will have to come together and persevere, we will face a lot of hurdles, this won’t be easy,” he added.

Mr. Sisodia’s appearance on the front page of NYT, Mr. Kejriwal said, was “no less than a declaration” that he wasn’t just the “best Education Minister in India but in the whole world” and was a matter of pride.

Many AAP leaders, Mr. Kejriwal said, had had to face raids for “working with honesty” in addition to having false cases registered against them; these “hurdles” however would not stop the AAP government from working for the welfare of the people.

“Manish Ji was declared the best Education Minister today, and this morning the CBI came to greet him with a raid. But we will fight these hurdles. He has been subjected to so many raids over the years. He was investigated for doing diligent transformation in the education system. This is not the first raid we’re facing,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“We’ve all been met with raids for working with honesty. They’ve raided my house, they’ve taken away Satyendar Jain, they’ve raided Kailash Gahlot and so many of our leaders. They found nothing then, they will find nothing now. Whatever hurdle comes our way, we won’t stop. Our growth and progress won’t stop,” he added.

BJP alleges scam

Meanwhile, the BJP pulled out all stops to go after the AAP government, accusing it of using the excise policy to convert black money into white and taking refuge behind the issues of education and health to “hide” the alleged excise scam.

North-east Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari charged the AAP with having contested elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand and other States with the money that it “received as commission” from a scam in the new excise policy.

“If the liquor policy was good, then they should welcome every inquiry. All the Ministers of the Kejriwal government are alleging that this is a ploy to stop the Delhi model of education and health. Why are you talking about these when the issue is the excise policy?” he asked.

West Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Verma sought to drag the Chief Minister himself into the fray, accusing him of being the architect behind it.

“The so-called honesty of the Kejriwal government will soon be exposed. In meetings with the liquor mafia it was Kejriwal himself who would decide and fix the commission rates as he knew the trick of the trade because of his being former IRS officer,” Mr. Verma alleged.

“It was only to get this commission that commission on liquor was raised from 2.5% to 12.5%. The structure of the AAP is such that no Minister can do anything without prior knowledge or permission of Mr. Kejriwal,” he added.

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