Manish Sisodia Arrested by CBI

New Delhi: Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with alleged corruption in the now-withdrawn liquor policy of Delhi. He will be produced in court tomorrow morning.

Manish Sisodia was being questioned by the Central agency since morning and the expected arrest came after over eight hours. He is the second Delhi minister to be arrested since Satyendar Jain.

While Mr Sisodia’s arrest was anticipated by his and his party, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party of Delhi, it is not known whether a protest will be held tonight. In the morning, a protest by the Aam Aadmi Party was broken up and several leaders and workers detained.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order, turning Delhi into a virtual fortress with multiple blockades and check-points. Police teams were deployed outside Mr Sisodia’s house and the CBI office.

“The BJP has been saying Manish Sisodia is corrupt. But you didn’t get anything from his house or bank accounts. They haven’t been able to prove any allegation against him. His arrest is a matter of attacking AAP and Kejriwal’s popularity,” said Aam Aadmi Party’s Aatishi at a press conference.

Mr Sisodia’s boss, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has assured that they will look after his family. “When you go to jail for the country and society, it is not a curse, it is a glory. I pray to God that you return from jail soon. Children, parents and all of us in Delhi will be waiting for you,” Mr Kejriwal had tweeted.

Calling the case against him “fake”, Mr Sisodia had earlier said he was ready for a seven to eight months in jail. “Even if I am in jail for 7-8 months, don’t feel sorry for me, be proud,” tweeted the leader, who had started the day with a show of strength by his supporters and a visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in Raj Ghat. Mr Sisodia was asked to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation last Sunday for questioning, but he sought more time, citing the Delhi budget on which he is working. Mr Sisodia handles the finance portfolio in the Arvind Kejriwal government.

Mr Sisodia and others face corruption allegations in bringing a new liquor sale policy in the national capital. The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing of the 2021 liquor policy. Kickbacks to the tune of ₹ 100 crore were paid by a liquor lobby it dubbed the “South Group”. The policy would have led to a 12 per cent profit for them, of which 6 per cent was routed to public servants through middlemen. The Enforcement Directorate has also launched an investigation, alleging laundering of the kickbacks.

The BJP said the Delhi government went back to the old liquor sale policy to cover up corruption in the excise department held by Mr Sisodia.

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