AAP MP accuses ED of using torture, threats in excise policy case

Apr 12, 2023 11:46 PM IST

The BJP dismissed Sanjay Singh’s allegations, claiming that they were made from “sheer frustration”.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of taking “false and coercive” statements by “threatening and torturing” the people arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh at a press conference on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)
AAP leader Sanjay Singh at a press conference on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)

Addressing a press conference, AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said seven people who have given statements to the ED in connection with the case have either filed petitions or written to the Delhi High Court, saying they were coerced into doing so.

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HT reached out to the ED for a comment on Singh’s allegations, but the federal agency did not respond.

Singh claimed, “These people are saying that they are being tortured. All these statements (to the ED) were used to make the excise policy case. In reality, people are being forced to make statements at gunpoint. They can also torture (former deputy chief minister) Manish Sisodia and others.”

Detailing some of the cases Singh said, “Chandan Reddy (employee of excise policy case accused Sharat Chandra Reddy) has filed a petition in the (Telangana) high court (in November) saying ED officers physically assaulted him and threatened his family to take false statements. Reddy was beaten to a point that he suffered loss of hearing in both ears. ED is using third-degree torture to take concocted statements. Similarly, the family of Arun Pillai (Hyderbad-based businessman, arrested on March 7) was threatened, and he has written to the court that forcefully, a false statement has been taken from him.”

The MP also alleged that Sisodia’s personal assistant has faced threats and harassment.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, dismissed Singh’s allegations, claiming that they were made from “sheer frustration”.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said, “All along, AAP leaders have tried to create the public perception that Manish Sisodia is innocent, but they have failed. Now, in sheer frustration, MP Sanjay Singh has levelled allegations on an independent investigative agency, ED, with the dual intent to pressurise the agency to go soft on Sisodia, and to create a public perception that ED is not being fair.”

The Delhi government’s 2021-22 excise policy aimed to revitalise the city’s flagging liquor business, by replacing replace a sales-volume based regime with a licence fee-based one for traders, and promised swankier stores, free of the infamous metal grilles, ultimately giving customers a better buying experience. The policy also introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor, a first for Delhi.

The plan, however, came to an abrupt end, with allegations of cartelisation and lieutenant governor VK Saxena recommending a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the regime. This ultimately resulted in the policy being scrapped prematurely. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has maintained that Saxena’s predecessor, Anil Baijal, sabotaged the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

On February 26, CBI arrested Sisodia after the agency said that it recovered several incriminating evidences in the case, and to conduct a fair investigation, his custody was required.

After spending seven days in CBI custody, Sisodia was sent to Tihar Jail by Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court, from where he was arrested by ED after nine-hour long interrogation on March 9.

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