Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on August 19 dubbed Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as an “excuse minister” after the latter claimed he was “paying the price for honesty” as the CBI searched his premises in connection with the excise scam.
Mr. Sisodia, who also holds the Excise portfolio in the Delhi government, said the Agency probe against him was to derail his work to improve education facilities in the national capital.
Responding to it, Mr. Thakur said in a statement, “The Excise Minister has become “excuse minister.” “Today, the issue is of liquor licenses and corruption involved in it. The Minister concerned is Manish Sisodia. He reversed the excise policy the day the probe was handed over to the CBI. Why was this step taken, because there was corruption in the issuance of liquor licenses,” Mr. Thakur said.
The Minister said the fear of a CBI probe had compelled Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia to link the searches by the Central investigative agency to education facilities in the national capital.
“The fear of probe compels Arvind Kejriwal to speak about education. This is not about education, but about the excise policy. Don't think of people as fools and stop your addresses to the nation,” Mr. Thakur said.
The Minister hoped that Mr. Sisodia would not claim to be suffering from memory loss as his ministerial colleague Satyendra Jain, who has been arrested in connection with a money-laundering case.
“People seek answers. The corruption in excise policy has revealed the true face of Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. They talked about fighting corruption and not entering politics. Not only did they venture into politics, but are also now involved in corruption,” the senior BJP leader said.
The CBI on Friday morning carried out searches at the residences of Mr. Sisodia and IAS officer Arava Gopi Krishna besides at 19 other locations after registering an FIR in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, officials said.
Last month, Delhi Lt. Governor V. K. Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the Arvind Kejriwal-led government's Excise Policy, 2021-22 over alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses. The Delhi government rolled back the policy soon after.