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Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

BJP cites sting to claim ‘crores in commission’ given to AAP leaders

At a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra played two videos, purportedly showing the father of accused number 13 in the CBI FIR in the alleged scam

BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra made the comments during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (Express File Photo)

RAISING THE pitch in its attack on the AAP government in Delhi, the BJP on Monday released a “sting video” to claim that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia had taken “commissions” worth “hundreds of crores” to benefit private players under the now scrapped excise policy.

Addressing a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra played a video, purportedly showing the father of accused number 13 in the CBI FIR filed in connection with the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. Sisodia is one of the accused named in the FIR. Patra said the man in the video is seen “explaining the modus operandi”.

Accused number 13, Sunny Marwah, is listed in the FIR as an “authorised signatory of Mahadev Liquors”. The FIR states that Marwah was “in close contact with accused public servants”.

In the video, shot inside a car, two men are heard speaking with the person who BJP claims is Sunny Marwah’s father. He is heard telling the men that under the new policy, those running liquor vends had to pay the government a fixed excise fee and were “free to do anything else” — from sizable discounts to offers such as “buy-one-get-one-free”. “They have played this game where you buy a product for 20 (paise) and sell it for as much as you want, but you have to give us a fixed amount. They took Rs 253 crore from us,” he is heard saying.

He contrasts this with the earlier policy: “Earlier if the product was 20 paise, the government took 70 paise and we got 10 paise… now it says, take the product for 20 paise and do what you want, give us a fixed amount.”

Under the now scrapped Excise Policy 2021-22, the Delhi government had changed the way licence fee is charged. It had set a high excise fee upfront and only 1 per cent was charged as VAT on the sale of alcohol. This, officials had said, was to disincentivise corruption since vendors would have no reason to downplay sales figures.

The person is also heard claiming that the government’s “big mistake” was “giving contracts to blacklisted firms”.

“In the video, (the person who is purportedly Sunny Marwah’s father) is explaining that 80 per cent profit is ours – of contractors, of friends of Kejriwal and Sisodia. The exchequer is getting only 10 per cent, he says. He says he was told that he can sell to whoever he wants, however he wants, as long as a fixed amount is given,” claimed Patra, suggesting that this “fixed amount” was going to the AAP leaders.

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The video, however, does not have any mention of the AAP leaders.

“Manish Sisodia has earned a lot of commission and money because of the policy. We had asked them five questions – why was the older policy, and then the new one, withdrawn; why were suggestions of the (former excise commissioner) Ravi Dhawan committee not followed; why were blacklisted companies given contracts; why were manufacturers given retail contracts in contravention of the policy; and why was the commission (for private players) increased from 2 per cent to 12 per cent, because of which the exchequer faced losses,” Patra said.

Patra also targeted the CM, saying: “Now, the sting master has been stung. Kejriwal used to say that if there is corruption, one should ‘sting’ them, record them and send it to them. A sting operation has been done… This makes it clear that people who came to power on the promise of anti-corruption, have now become corrupt.”

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The Indian Express had earlier visited Sunny Marwah’s address mentioned in the CBI FIR. The door was answered by a person on the first floor who said that Marwah had not been living there for two years. On being asked who lived there, he said that he did, but refused to provide more information. The 4-storey building was named “Marwah’s”. A neighbour had also said that Sunny Marwah did not live there anymore.

First published on: 05-09-2022 at 02:14:19 pm
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