Delhi excise policy case | CBI arrests Manish Sisodia after questioning him for 8 hours

February 26, 2023 08:44 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST

Police escort Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia from Rajghat ahead of his questioning by CBI in the excise policy case on February 26, 2023.

Police escort Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia from Rajghat ahead of his questioning by CBI in the excise policy case on February 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The CBI has arrested Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia after nearly eight hours of questioning in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, agency sources said on February 26.

Officials said Sisodia’s answers during questioning in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22 were not found satisfactory. He arrived at the CBI headquarters at 11.12 am for the second round of questioning.

The officials of the Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI grilled him on various aspects of the Excise policy, his alleged link with Dinesh Arora and other accused in the FIR, and details of message exchanges from multiple phones among others.

The CBI investigators alleged that he was not cooperating in the investigation and avoiding clarifications on crucial points sought by them resulting in his arrest, sources said.

Before leaving for the CBI office, Sisodia had expressed apprehension that he may be arrested.

Soon after the CBI began questioning Mr. Sisodia , Delhi Police detained as many as 50 workers and leaders of the ruling Aam Admi Party. He arrived at the heavily-barricaded CBI office after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat. Ahead of his questioning, he told reporters that he was not afraid of going to jail.

The AAP members protesting near the CBI headquarters against the questioning were detained by Delhi Police, according to the party. At least 50 AAP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, have been detained while protesting near the CBI headquarters, a senior police officer confirmed. The detainees also include Delhi Government Minister Gopal Rai, three MLAs and one former MLA, the officer added.

Supreme Court seeks government measures against manual scavenging in last 10 years

The Supreme Court has directed the government to place on record within six weeks the steps taken by it to implement its nearly 10-year-old judgment to end manual scavenging and prevent future generations from the “inhuman practice” while making entry into sewers without safety gear a crime even in emergency situations.

A Bench led by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat recently took judicial notice of the fact that manual scavenging and deaths of people trapped in flooded sewer lines continue to be a reality though the practice was banned with the introduction of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

The apex court itself had reinforced the prohibition and directed the rehabilitation of people, traditionally and otherwise, employed as manual scavengers in its judgment in Safai Karamchari Andolan And Others vs. Union of India.

The judgment had called for their “rehabilitation based on the principles of justice and transformation”. “Persons released from manual scavenging should not have to cross hurdles to receive what is their legitimate due under the law,” the court had stressed.

Justice Bhat, hearing a petition filed by Dr. Balram Singh in person, sought details of steps taken by the Centre in pursuance of the 2014 judgment, including rehabilitation of the people falling within the definition of ‘manual scavengers’, abolition/demolition of dry latrines statewise; status of dry latrines and employment of safai karamcharis in cantonment boards and railways; statewise set up of municipal corporations and the nature of equipment (as well as the description of technical equipment) deployed by such bodies to mechanise sewage cleaning; and online tracking of sewage deaths and action taken by their authorities, including payment of compensation and rehabilitation of families.

The court impleaded the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes as respondents in the case.

The court has appointed advocate K. Parameswar as its amicus curiae. The Social Justice Ministry has to file its report with the information in six weeks.

Mann Ki Baat | Medical consultation app’s reach reflects power of India’s digital revolution: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the e-Sanjeevani app, which facilitates online medical consultations, reflects the power of India’s digital revolution, noting that over 10 crore people have benefited from it so far.

In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast, Modi said the app is becoming a life protection app for the common man, middle class or those living in remote areas. “This is the power of India’s digital revolution,” he said.

He also referred to the recent agreement between India’s Unified Payments Interface and Singapore’s PayNow so as to allow easy money transfer between people of the two countries to underscore the boost in ease of living brought by the country’s adoption of digital technologies.

In his address, Modi also highlighted the cleanliness exercises adopted by people in different parts of the country to say that “Swachh Bharat” has become a mass movement.

He said the might of a country increases with the strength of society, adding interest in Indian sports and toys saw a big increase after they were mentioned by in the broadcast.

Indian toys have become such a craze that their demand has increased even in foreign countries, he said.

Noting that on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary, observed as Unity Day, on October, 31, three competitions related to patriotic songs, lullabies and rangoli were started, he said over five lakh people from more than 700 districts have participated in them.

India’s economic growth appears to be very fragile, says RBI Monetary Policy Committee member

India’s economic growth appears to be ‘very fragile’ and it may fall short of what the country needs to meet the aspirations of its growing workforce, RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Jayanth R. Varma said. He said he expects inflation to remain high in 2022-23 but come down significantly in 2023-24.

“However, growth appears to be very fragile, and monetary tightening is compressing demand,” he added.

Rising EMI payments increases the pressure on household budgets and dampens spending, and exports are struggling in the face of global factors, he said.

Noting that high interest rates make private capital investment more difficult, Varma said the government is in fiscal consolidation mode thus reducing the support to the economy from this source.

“Because of all these factors, I fear that growth may fall short of what we need to meet the aspirations of our growing workforce given our demographic context and income level,” he said.

Varma said he sees global inflationary pressures dissipating in the months ahead as the supply shocks from the pandemic and from the Ukraine war gradually resolve themselves.

Regarding high inflation, he said 2022-23 is a year of high inflation due to various supply shocks as well as the delay in monetary tightening during the second half of 2022-23.

Ukraine military says Russian offensive near Yahidne unsuccessful

Ukraine’s military said that Russia conducted unsuccessful offensives near Yahidne over the past day, after Russia’s Wagner mercenary group claimed to have captured the village in eastern Ukraine.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a morning update that Russia keeps concentrating its offensive efforts along the entire Bakhmut front line, where Yahidne is located.

The months-long struggle for Bakhmut, where only about 5,000 of 70,000 residents remain, has seen some of the bloodiest attritional fighting of Russia’s year-old invasion.

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday his forces had captured Yahidne. On Friday, he had claimed control of Berkhivka, an adjacent village on the outskirts of Bakhmut.

However, the Ukrainian bulletin said attacks were continuing, citing “unsuccessful offensives” near six settlements, including Yahidne and Berkhivka, in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claims to have annexed.

Ukraine also said Russian forces had shelled the areas of 22 settlements along that part of the front line in Donetsk over the past day, while Ukraine had repelled 71 in Donetsk and elsewhere along the frontline.

In Brief:

Assembly elections 2023 | Meghalaya, Nagaland to vote on February 27

More than 34 lakh electors would choose their new representatives from among 552 candidates in Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27. Both States have 60-member Houses. While BJP candidate Kazheto Kinimi was elected unopposed from Nagaland’s Akuluto constituency after his lone Congress rival Khekashe Sumi opted out of the race, election to the Sohiong seat in Meghalaya was deferred following the death of United Democratic Party candidate H.D.R. Lyngdoh.

Congress mulling east-west yatra from Pasighat to Porbandar, says Jairam Ramesh

The Congress is considering a Pasighat-to-Porbandar yatra, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, after Rahul Gandhi called for taking the “tapasya” of the Bharat Jodo Yatra forward. Ramesh said there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy among party workers for another yatra and that an east-to-west yatra, probably from Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh to Porbandar in Gujarat, was being considered but its format could be a bit different from the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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