Triggering a fresh flashpoint between the AAP Delhi government and Raj Niwas, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday recommended a CBI probe in the Capital’s revamped Excise Policy.
The Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was, government sources said, was rife with alleged violations and “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” according to a Kn assessment report prepared by the Chief Secretary.
Government sources said the role of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the excise portfolio, was specifically under the lens for allegedly providing “undue financial favours” to liquor licensees.
“Over ₹150 crore of loss caused to the state exchequer due to the policy while kickbacks were received by the AAP Delhi government and AAP leaders; this money was used to influence the Punjab elections,” a government source alleged.
“The report by the Chief Secretary to the L-G is in accordance with Rule 57 of the ToBR 1993, which mandates the Chief Secretary to flag any deviation from laid down procedures to the LG and the Chief Minister and was sent to both,” the source added.
According to the report, while migrant workers were leaving the city due to lack of basic subsistence income and all businesses were facing challenges due to the COVID wave, the Excise Department “under direct orders of Manish Sisodia” decided to “allow a waiver of ₹144.36 crore singularly to the liquor cartel, on the tendered license fee under the excuse of COVID-19 pandemic.”
Lieutenant Governor acting at the behest of Centre: AAP
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged the Lieutenant Governor was acting at the behest of the BJP-led Central government.
“The same Centre, within a year of us forming the government in Delhi in 2016, had set up an inquiry on 400 official files but could find nothing. This is vendetta against the AAP Delhi government because of CM Arvind Kejriwal’s growing stature,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.
False case, says Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, throwing hid weight behind his deputy, said it was a ploy to target Mr. Sisodia.
“The entire case being made out against the Delhi government is completely false; there isn’t an iota of truth in the Excise Policy allegations,” he said, adding “by fabricating cases they are deliberately throwing mud on us because we are staunchly honest and they can’t digest that fact.”
We will not stop working; they threw Satyendar Jain behind bars and now they want to throw Manish Sisodia in jail; they will be reprimanded by the courts, Mr. Kejriwal said.