Hours after the L-G recommended a CBI investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, the Aam Aadmi Party put up a united front to back Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who heads the Excise department. From party chief and CM Arvind Kejriwal to Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and senior leaders Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj, the party’s top brass hit out at the Centre and said it was “scared” of AAP’s expansion and growth in the country.
Calling the allegations against Sisodia fake, fabricated, and baseless, Kejriwal said the Deputy CM is the most staunchly honest person he has ever met: “I have been saying this for the last three-four months that they want to arrest Sisodia… There is not an iota of truth in this case.”
Calling his political adversaries the “children of Savarkar”, Kejriwal said, “We are children of Bhagat Singh, who refused to bow his head before the British and was hanged to death… We are not afraid of jail.”
He added, “How far can you go with false allegations. You arrested Satyendar Jain who was working in the health sector and now you want put Sisodia, who is making careers and lives of lakhs of children in Delhi, in jail. Arrest him, keep him in jail for two months, three months, he will come back. Your allegations will fail in court, and you will only be proven wrong and will be reprimanded in court.”
Atishi, AAP MLA from Kalkaji, said, “The Centre is saying the policy caused huge losses to the exchequer while revenue collected increased… within four months of implementation of the new policy… There was a gain of Rs 1,300 crore to the public exchequer. The BJP should learn some maths before raising allegations.”
Responding to the allegations being made BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi, Atishi said, “She said that the amount submitted by the agency which didn’t get the tender should be returned by Manish Sisodia. I want to give her clarity regarding the policy — which was signed by the L-G who is your own representative — that all agencies submitting the tenders had to give a security deposit and the ones who didn’t get the tender will get the amount back. This is a basic principle on which security deposits work. The BJP is falsely projecting this as a major scam.”
Lekhi had alleged that a waiver of over Rs 144.36 crore was given to licensees and earnest money deposit worth Rs 30 crore of one company was refunded without following rules and processes.
Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the ED and CBI are clueless about how to bring back fugitive offenders like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya who fled the country after looting thousands of crores. “Rather than arresting them, the Modi government is harassing and humiliating Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain…,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Bhardwaj Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “blocking” Kejriwal’s visit to Singapore for a summit and said that his “insecurity” was hampering the country’s image.
“Suppose during (US) President (Donald) Trump’s term, the governor of Washington or Texas is called by the Indian government for the good work done in these states, to talk about how it was done, and Trump stops them saying they can’t go; someone else can go in their place. He would have been criticised in India and all over the world that a President, a leader of the nation, is stopping political leaders of a state, saying that they will not go, he will go,” Bhardwaj said at a press conference Friday.
“Because of this, India’s image is being hampered. The whole world is laughing at us that a Prime Minister is not letting a Chief Minister go for a foreign visit despite an invitation,” he said, adding that Kejriwal was not going on a leisure trip, holiday or vacation. The L-G had written to Kejriwal “advising” him not to go to the World Cities Summit in Singapore, stating that it was a conference of mayors and all the subjects covered did not fall under purview of the government.