Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asserted that there was no "liquor scam" in Delhi and that the case over his government's excise policy was created as a result of "political vendetta and conspiracy" ahead of his deputy Manish Sisodia's questioning by the CBI slated for Sunday.
Reacting to Kejriwal's assertion, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva wondered why did the AAP government scrap the excise policy if there was no scam in it.
The Excise Policy 2021-22 was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year after a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe was recommended by Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena into "violation of norms and lapses".
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Kejriwal said his government will fully cooperate with the CBI's investigation into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the now-scrapped Excise Policy 2021-22.
"First of all, there is no such thing as a liquor scam. We formulated the best and most transparent policy in the country," he said when asked about the CBI summoning Sisodia.
The same policy implemented in Punjab has led to a 48-per cent rise in revenues, the chief minister said.
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"In Delhi, they have framed the case as a result of political vendetta and conspiracy. Manish will go there and we will fully cooperate. Finally, the truth will prevail," he said.
At another press conference, Sachdeva posed questions to Kejriwal, asking why a court denied bail to one of the accused in the case on four different occasions and whether Sisodia had any contact with the other accused.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader also wondered why did the deputy chief minister frequently change his mobile phones.
Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri alleged that the liquor "scam" involved an amount of Rs 6,000 crore and asserted that the truth will come out after the CBI probe.
BJP MP Parvesh Verma said the "liquor scam" of the AAP government has been "exposed" before people and Kejriwal is now defending Sisodia.
The CBI has called Sisodia for questioning in connection with the excise policy case nearly three months after filing the chargesheet.
Sisodia has not been named as an accused in the chargesheet as the probe against him and other suspects is still going on, officials said.
The deputy chief minister, who also held the charge of the excise department, was first questioned by the federal agency on October 17 last year and his house as well as bank lockers were also searched in connection with the case.
In a tweet in Hindi, Sisodia said nothing incriminating was found against him during the searches and he would continue to cooperate in the investigation.
"The CBI has called me again tomorrow. They have used the full power of the CBI, the ED against me, raided my house, searched bank lockers, but nothing was found against me," he said.
In an apparent reference to the BJP-led Centre, the deputy chief minister said the CBI has been made to go after him because "they" want to stop his "good work" in the education sector for the children of Delhi.
The CBI is now focused on the alleged influence of a "south lobby" of businessmen and politicians on the formulation and implementation of the liquor policy to swing it in their favour, using middlemen, liquor traders and public servants, officials said.
It is alleged that the Delhi government's policy to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for those, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
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