The CBI Friday questioned Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at his official residence in connection with a preliminary enquiry (PE) initiated against him. Sources said the agency wanted clarifications in connection with its enquiry into alleged irregularities in promoting the government’s ‘TalkToAK’ campaign. Contrary to assertions made by the AAP on Friday morning, CBI spokesperson R K Gaur denied there was a raid and said the agency cannot conduct searches on the basis of a PE.
“There is no raid or search at the premises of Shri Manish Sisodia. The visit of the CBI team is to seek clarification on certain issues related to an ongoing enquiry,” he said. CBI sources said an officer had called Sisodia Thursday evening to ask if he would like to furnish clarifications required by the agency at its headquarters in the CGO complex or at his residence. When Sisodia chose the latter, the CBI team reached his home on Friday, sources claimed.
In January, the agency had initiated a PE based on a complaint filed by the Vigilance department. The ‘TalktoAK’ campaign first came under the scanner after then finance principal secretary, Dharmendra Kumar, objected to the process of hiring an advertising agency to promote the programme. According to the complaint, the Delhi government had hired a consultant of a famous PR company to promote the campaign – which aimed to encourage Delhi residents to directly interact with CM Arvind Kejriwal.
A proposal of Rs 1.5 crore was prepared for the same. The complaint stated that the Delhi government went ahead with the proposal, despite objections from the principal secretary. It also claimed that the consultant spent the money, creating a liability for the government. As of now, the CBI has only registered a PE to probe the allegations and the alleged role of Sisodia and others. The agency had also registered a PE against Saumya Jain, daughter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, in connection with her appointment as in-charge of the mohalla clinic project. Both the cases were referred to CBI by former L-G Najeeb Jung.