'80% of leaders detained, emergency-like situation': AAP after Sisodia’s arrest | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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'80% of leaders detained, emergency-like situation': AAP after Sisodia’s arrest

ByAlok K N Mishra & Shiv Sunny, New Delhi
Feb 27, 2023 02:27 PM IST

AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj claimed around 80% of AAP leaders, including Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh and minister Gopal Rai, were under detention

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers gathered outside the party’s headquarters on Monday ahead of a planned protest march against deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s arrest a day earlier in connection with the alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped 2021-22 liquor policy even as Delhi Police said they have no plans of allowing it.

Security arrangements in view of call for protests against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's arrest. (PTI)
Security arrangements in view of call for protests against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's arrest. (PTI)

About 1,500 police and paramilitary personnel or 12 companies were deployed for additional security in view of AAP’s call for protests against the arrest that escalated the tussle between AAP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj claimed around 80% of AAP leaders, including Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh and minister Gopal Rai, were under detention. He called the detentions illegal and suggestive of an Emergency-like situation.

“Almost 80% of leaders of AAP have been arrested apart from Manish Sisodia. The central government says that they have been detained. Detention is done for a few hours, but AAP leaders have been detained for over 24 hours. It is illegal.”

He added police should have produced them in court and explained under what laws have they been arrested. “The AAP leaders spent the night in police custody. Our district in charges and local leaders have also been arrested. It is a very dangerous sign. It reflects what was done during the Emergency. We seek answers from the central government on what basis have they been arrested.”

Singh and Rai were among those detained while they were protesting outside the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters on Sunday as Sisodia was being questioned before his arrest. AAP claimed they have not been released yet.

There was no immediate response from the Delhi Police.

Sisodia was due to be produced in a special court on Monday. The Delhi Police enhanced security, especially outside the headquarters of AAP and CBI ahead of it.

“Six of these [12] companies have been deployed outside the AAP office and the remaining six at other sensitive locations such as the CBI headquarters and Civil Lines,” said a police officer, who did not want to be named.

The AAP called for the protest march from its office to that of the BJP on Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg at 12 noon. “Hence we have deployed enough police personnel outside the office to ensure there is no law and order situation,” said a second police officer, requesting anonymity.

The Delhi Traffic Police issued an advisory saying traffic will remain affected on DDU Marg in the carriageway from Minto Road towards ITO and vice-versa due to special traffic arrangements. “Commuters are advised to avoid this stretch,” the advisory said.

Vehicular movement was expected to be affected in central parts of the city throughout the day. BJP’s headquarters is located within a walking distance from AAP’s office on DDU Marg in central Delhi.

The Delhi Police have barricaded multiple locations to prevent the march. The Rouse Avenue Court, where Sisodia is expected to be produced, is also located on the DDU Marg. Security has also been increased on the court premises. It was unclear whether Sisodia will be physically produced in the court or it will be done through video conferencing in the wake of the protests planned.

All state units of AAP have also been asked to hold protests.

Bharadwaj said they will hold a peaceful protest outside BJP headquarters because the central government is trying to suppress AAP.

He added there was no need to arrest Sisodia. “He did not run away in the last 10 months, nor did he destroy any evidence. Then how was he supposed to do it now [run away or destroy evidence]? They [CBI] claim that there was corruption in the formulation of the excise policy. The policy was approved by former LG [ Lieutenant Governor] Anil Baijal who also notified the policy.”

He questioned why the CBI did not question Baijal. “AAP is being subjected to injustice by the central government,” said Bharadwaj.

BJP leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal should immediately sack Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, who was arrested earlier in a separate case, from the Cabinet. “Satyendar Jain is behind bars for nine months in a money laundering case, and Sisodia has been arrested on the basis of solid evidence for scam in excise policy. Despite that Kejriwal, who came into politics claiming to have zero tolerance against corruption, has not removed... [Jain and Sisodia] from the Cabinet yet. It means that Kejriwal was also involved in the scam. Kejriwal should also resign from his post.”

Sisodia is the second and the senior-most minister of the Delhi government to be arrested. He and Kejriwal said the arrest was in the offing as part of BJP’s political plot against AAP.

Sisodia was summoned for questioning on Sunday before his arrest. Kejriwal maintained Sisodia was innocent and called his arrest dirty politics. He said there is a lot of anger among the people and they will respond.

The AAP staged a show of strength ahead of Sisodia’s arrest with a roadshow. Before his questioning, Sisodia said false cases were being lodged against leaders of AAP as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “afraid” of Kejriwal.

Sisodia was arrested under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to criminal conspiracy and fraud and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The 2021-22 liquor policy was scrapped when lieutenant governor VK Saxena asked for an investigation over alleged irregularities. AAP has rejected the charges.

Sisodia has not been named in three charge sheets in the case even as he is the primary accused in the First Investigation Report.

Federal agencies have claimed Sisodia was the architect of the now-scrapped excise policy and 100 crore alleged kickbacks were paid to favour certain liquor manufacturers and wholesalers.

A part of kickbacks allegedly meant for AAP leaders was used for the Goa assembly election campaign last year.

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