Excise policy case | Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia among 15 named in CBI FIR

CBI searched 21 locations in seven States and a Union Territory.

August 19, 2022 09:56 am | Updated 07:04 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is seen with CBI personnel during searches at his residence in New Delhi on August 19, 2022.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is seen with CBI personnel during searches at his residence in New Delhi on August 19, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The CBI alleging irregularities in Delhi's excise policy 2021-22, on August 19, 2022, filed FIR against 15 persons, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, as accused.

Among the accused are then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari, and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

The others include Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Only Much Lounder, an entertainment and event management company (Mumbai); Manoj Rai, former empoyee of Pernod Richard, Amandeep Dhal, director of Brinco Sales Private Limited (Delhi); Sameer Mahendru, managing director of Indospirit Group; Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Private Limited (Delhi); Buddy Retail Private Limited; Dinesh Arora; Mahadev Liquors; Sunny Marwah authorised signatory of Mahadev Liquors; Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation searched 21 locations, including the premises of Mr. Sisodia, in connection with the alleged irregularities in the State government's previous Excise Policy.

The searches, in seven States and a Union Territory, are also carried out on the premises of the then Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and two more public servants, according to a CBI official.

Confirming that a CBI team had reached his residence, Mr. Sisodia through his Twitter handle said he was disappointed that those doing good work in the country were being harassed. "That is why our country could not become No.1," he said.

Mr. Sisodia, who holds the excise portfolio, said he would cooperate in the probe in order to find the truth, which would be established in court. He said that nothing incriminating had been found against him so far.

Stating that earlier the then Health Minister Satyendar Jain was arrested and now he was being targeted, Mr. Sisodia alleged the action was being taken to stop the good work being done in the areas of education and health in Delhi.

₹150 crore loss to the exchequer

Last month, Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the revamped Excise Policy. According to an assessment report, the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 involved alleged violations and procedural lapses.

It was suspected that the policy led to a loss of over ₹150 crore to the exchequer.

Recently, Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena suspended 11 officials, including the then Excise Commissioner and Deputy Excise Commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari, in the same matter.

Raid a reward for good performance: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then dismissed the allegations, stating that Mr. Sisodia was being targeted without any basis.

Reacting to Friday’s developments, Mr. Kejriwal said the CBI raid at his junior colleague’s house was the result of their good performance which is being appreciated globally.

“The day Delhi’s Education model was appreciated and Manish Sisodia’s photo appeared on the front page of New York Times, the Centre sent CBI at the residence of Manish.

“CBI is welcome. Will extend full cooperation. Earlier also there were raid and probe. Nothing came out. Nothing will come out now also,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted. 

Misuse of probe agencies help corrupt get away: Congress

The Congress said the “relentless misuse” of agencies against political rivals erodes their credibility and gives an opportunity even for the corrupt to get away.

Soon after CBI raids were conducted at the residence of Mr. Sisodia, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the honest end up paying the price in such processes.

“The flip side to relentless misuse of agencies against political rivals is that even legitimate, rightful actions of agencies come under a cloud of suspicion. In the process, the corrupt get away hiding behind the ‘misuse’ argument and the honest end up paying the price,” Mr. Khera said on Twitter.

Sisodia best Education Minister of Independent India, says Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, slams CBI raid

Describing Mr. Sisodia as the best Education Minister of Independent India, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the CBI raid at the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister’s residence was the reward for the Delhi government’s good performance being appreciated globally.

“Manish Sisodia is the best Education Minister of Independent India. Today the largest U.S. newspaper NYT printed his photo on the front page. And today Modi ji sent CBI to his house. How will India progress like this?” Mr. Mann said in a tweet in Hindi.

Other Ministers in the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab too attacked the BJP-led Centre after the CBI raid at Mr. Sisodia’s house.

“The Day no. 1 Newspaper of the no. 1 country in the world recognises Delhi govt’s Education Model & @msisodia ji as best education minister ever. Same Morning CBI is sent to Manish ji’ house by Shameless BJP. It proves BJP doesn’t want India to have perfect govt Schools,” Punjab’s Minister of School Education and Jails, Harjot Singh Bains, said in a tweet.

Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra said “Today the largest newspaper in the U.S., NYT, printed his photo on the front page. And today Modi ji sent the CBI to his house...” 

(With inputs from PTI)

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