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Sisodia to appear before CBI; Sec 144 imposed around his residence| Where’s liquor case reached so far?

Delhi Liquor Case: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday will appear before Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) as he was summoned by the investigation agency for questioning in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy for the national capital. Section 144 was imposed around Sisodia’s residence to avoid any kind of protests by his supporters.

The probe agency asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader to appear before it at its headquarters here at 11 am on Monday, official said.

The latest development intensified the politics in the national capital. Sisodia, within no time, took to Twitter to attack CBI

“CBI raid was conducted at my house for 14 hours, nothing came out. Searched my bank locker, nothing came out in it. They did not find anything in my village. Now they have called me to CBI Headquarters at 11 am tomorrow. I will go and give my full cooperation. Satyameva Jayate,” he tweeted.

Arvind Kejriwal backs Sisodia; Will Sisodia be arrested?

With the CBI summoning Sisodia for questioning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal compared his deputy and jailed minister Satyendar Jain to Bhagat Singh and termed his government’s fight with the Centre the “second freedom struggle”.

The AAP claimed that Sisodia would be arrested on Monday and alleged the move was initiated in view of the forthcoming assembly elections in Gujarat where it is in a direct contest with the BJP.

“Jail bars and hanging noose could not deter Bhagat Singh’s resolute intentions. This is the second fight for freedom. Manish and Satyendar are today’s Bhagat Singh. After 75 years, the country got an education minister who gave good education to the poor and gave hope for a bright future. Prayers of crores of poor are with you,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

Sisodia targets Delhi LG VK Saxena

In view of a murder incident in Baljit Nagar, Sisodia wrote a letter to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena appealing to him to take cognisance of his constitutional duty of maintaining public order.

In the letter, he said the crime graph in the city has increased and it seems that Delhi has become the capital of crime.

He also mentioned the worsening law and order situation in Delhi. “The constitution has given the responsibility to maintain law and order in Delhi to you (LG) and the police directly reports to you. I request you to kindly pay some attention towards this,” Sisodia said in the letter.

“If you dedicate some time in streamlining the deteriorating law and order situation in the city then it will benefit the general public of Delhi,” he added.

Sisodia also listed a number of recent crime incidents that took place in the city.

He said two days back some goons battered a youth to death in broad daylight in Baljit Nagar similarly last week a man was stabbed to death in Sundar Nagri areas.

Where’s case headed so far?

CBI so far questioned a number of people, including Sameer Mahendru, the owner of Indo Spirits, Amit Arora, the director of Buddy Retail Private Limited in Gurugram in connection with the case, the officials said.

The agency has arrested Vijay Nair, an AAP worker and a former CEO of Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company, and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally, whose partner Arun Pillai has been named as an accused in the CBI FIR, they said.

The CBI had got an FIR registered in a special court here in August against Sisodia and 14 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which deals with taking undue advantage to influence a public servant by corrupt or illegal means or by the exercise of personal influence.

Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the Delhi Excise Policy, which was brought out in November last year, the officials said.

Following the registration of the FIR, the agency conducted searches at the premises of Sisodia and opened his locker at a bank in Ghaziabad, they said.

The FIR flagged payments in crores allegedly made to “close associates” of Sisodia by Mahendru, one of the liquor traders actively involved in the alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy.

The FIR also alleged that Sisodia’s “close associates” Amit Arora, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey were “actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees” for the accused public servants. It said Radha Industries, managed by Dinesh Arora, received Rs 1 crore from Mahendru.

Pandey, also an associate of Sisodia, had once collected cash amounting to about Rs 2-4 crore from Mahendru on behalf of Nair, the FIR alleged.

During its probe, the CBI found that a lobby of a liquor businessman based in south India was also involved in influencing the excise policy and promoting cartelisation.

The FIR, registered on the basis of a “source information”, stated that the accused public servants, including Sisodia, took decisions pertaining to the Excise Policy 2021-22 without the approval of the competent authority and with “an intention to extend undue favours to the licensees post tender”.

“It was alleged that irregularities were committed, including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver or reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 licence without approval etc.,” a CBI spokesperson had said in a statement after the registration of the FIR.

According to the Delhi government’s website, an L-1 licence is granted for the wholesale supply of Indian liquor.

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