CBI's Sisodia raids over, AAP says BJP rattled: 'It's Modi vs Kejriwal in 2024'
The CBI has put Manish Sisodia at the top of the accused’s list in the case in which 14 others have also been named.
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) left the residence of Delhi deputy chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia nearly 14 hours after it began its raids on Friday in connection with alleged irregularities in the excise policy.
The investigating agency has put Sisodia at the top of the accused’s list in the case in which 14 others have also been named.
Amid intensifying tension between the Centre and the AAP, Delhi chief minister Kejriwal skipped his weekly meeting with Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena. News agency PTI quoted AAP sources as saying that no meeting was scheduled due to Janmashtami festival, while sources in the LG's office said the Delhi CM did not meet LG.
After the hours-long CBI raid came to an end, Sisodia said he would continue to cooperate with the agency and that he had done nothing wrong. “CBI team came this morning. They searched my house and seized my computer and phone. My family cooperated with them and will continue to cooperate. We have not done any corruption or wrong. We are not afraid. We know that CBI is being misused,” Sisodia said.
Meanwhile, the AAP on Friday projected Kejriwal as the principal challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, slated to be held in 2024 as raids were conducted at his deputy’s residence by the CBI.
AAP MP Sanjay Singh said the BJP was "rattled" by the "growing popularity" of Kejriwal and his model of governance.
"The way BJP leaders are targeting Arvind Kejriwal since morning, the party has, somewhere or the other, sent out a message across the country that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be AAP versus BJP," the AAP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP was quoted as saying at a presser.
Singh has been at the forefront of issuing statements on behalf of the amid the growing tiff between the Centre and the AAP, first over "freebies", then over CBI raids held at Sisodia's residence earlier on Friday.
On the raids held at Sisodia's residence, Singh said it “proved” that Modi and his BJP are "completely rattled" by the "growing popularity" of Kejriwal and his model of governance in the country following the party's big victory in Punjab assembly polls.
"It is going to be Modi versus Kejriwal in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections," PTI further quoted Singh as saying.
"I am saying this because as soon as Kejriwal reaches Gujarat and says his party will roll out the Delhi and Punjab model in Gujarat as well, the prime minister goes on an offensive and levels the 'free revdi' charge."
The BJP and the AAP have in the recent past traded barbs at each other on the issue of "freebies" with the BJP accusing Kejriwal of using it as a "bait" to trap people for power.
Singh said that Modi put the CBI and the ED after AAP ministers as Kejriwal had "exposed" the Prime Minister by showing how he has "distributed free revdi to his friends" with his government at the Centre "writing off their loans worth ₹10 lakh crore and giving them tax exemption of ₹5 lakh crore".
In July, Modi, at an event held in Uttar Pradesh, had cautioned people against what he called "revdi culture"- a metaphor for freebies being promised by some parties to woo voters.
The CBI action against Sisodia came two days after Kejriwal formally unveiled AAP's national ambition with the launch of 'Make India No 1' campaign. The searches reportedly went on for nearly 14 hours at Sisodia's residence, becoming the latest flashpoint between the AAP and the BJP.
(With agency inputs)