CBI summons Manish Sisodia for questioning in Delhi excise policy scam probe
This is the first time that CBI has summoned deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the alleged Delhi excise policy 2021-22 scam probe
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued summons to Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia asking him to appear before it at 11am on Monday for questioning in the alleged Delhi excise policy 2021-22 scam probe, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.
Sisodia, named as accused number 1 in the first information report (FIR) filed on August 17 in the alleged irregularities, has been summoned for the first time in the probe.
Reacting to the summons, Sisodia, in a tweet on Sunday said: “CBI raid was conducted at my house for 14 hours, nothing came out. Searched my bank locker, nothing came out in it. They did not find anything in my village. Now they have called me to CBI Headquarters at 11am tomorrow. I will go and give my full cooperation. Satyameva Jayate.”
Two businessmen, Vijay Nair and Abhishek Boinpally, have already been arrested by the central agency while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested another businessman, Sameer Mahendru, in the case.
People cited above said Sisodia, being the excise minister of Delhi, spearheaded the now-scrapped policy and he will be interrogated about the tweaks in the policy, role of private individuals and liquor wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers in the formulation of the policy.
CBI has alleged that Sameer Mahendru had made two payments-- ₹1 crore to Dinesh Arora, a close aide of Sisodia, and a payment of somewhere between ₹2 to 4 crore to Gurugram based alleged conduit Arjun Pandey on behalf of another accused Vijay Nair.
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Both ED and CBI are investigating the alleged cartelisation in the now-scrapped liquor policy, which allegedly benefitted some major liquor wholesalers/distributors and retailers while knocking out the smaller vendors from the tendering process.
Sisodia’s residence was raided by CBI on August 19.
It has been alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in excise policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc and that illegal gains on count of these acts were diverted to public servants concerned by private parties and making false entries in their books of accounts.
Sisodia, who is also the education and finance minister in the Delhi government, steered the 2021-22 excise policy introduced in November 2021. The policy overhauled the Capital’s liquor market and fetched the state government ₹8,919.59 crore or close to 27% higher than the base price set for licence bids. It was aimed at making the process of purchasing liquor more consumer-friendly.