Sisodia appears before CBI for questioning in excise policy scam case

Sisodia arrived at the heavily-barricaded CBI office after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, officials said

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

The CBI on Sunday began its second round of questioning of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam case.

Sisodia arrived at the heavily-barricaded CBI office after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, officials said.

Ahead of his questioning, the deputy chief minister told reporters that he was not afraid of going to jail.

When I left my job as a journalist, my wife supported me and even today, my family is standing by my side. My workers will take care of my family if I get arrested, he said.

The AAP leader, accused number one in the CBI FIR, was earlier questioned on October 17, a month before the agency filed its charge sheet on November 25 last year.

The CBI had not named Sisodia in the charge sheet as the central probe agency kept the probe open against him and other suspects and accused, they said.

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The agency will question Sisodia on various aspects of the excise policy, his alleged links with liquor traders, and politicians and claims made by witnesses in their statements.

Armed with confessional statements of Sisodia's "close associate" Dinesh Arora, and information gleaned from questioning of alleged members of 'South Lobby', a coterie of politicians and liquor businessmen who allegedly swung the policy in their favour, the CBI has prepared an elaborate questionnaire for him, the 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 it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.

"It was further alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, the extension of L-1 license without approval etc.

"It was also alleged that illegal gains on the count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts," a CBI spokesperson had said.

Sisodia, who also holds the Finance portfolio in the Delhi Cabinet, was originally summoned last Sunday but he sought deferment of his questioning citing the ongoing Budget exercise, following which, the CBI had asked him to appear on February 26.

Recently, the CBI arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, a former Chartered Accountant of K Kavitha, a BRS MLC in Telangana and a daughter of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

It is alleged that Babu had met several accused named in the FIR in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai and was one of the prime negotiators from the South Lobby, which wanted to swing the now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22 in its favour.

The CBI had also questioned Kavitha in connection with the case in December last year.

During its probe, the CBI had found evidence that Babu acted on behalf of the South Lobby comprising the Telangana MLC, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, and Aurobindo Pharma's P Sarat Chandra Reddy.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Feb 26 2023 | 12:32 PM IST

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