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On Delhi liquor policy, now Delhi deputy CM seeks CBI probe: ‘Ex-LG cleared…’

Published on Aug 06, 2022 12:45 PM IST

Delhi liquor policy has emerged as a flashpoint between the BJP and the AAP. 

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia during a press conference for liqure policy issue, in New Delhi. (Photo by Hindustan Times/ Sanjeev Verma) 
By, New Delhi

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said he has written to the CBI as he claimed that former lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had unexpectedly changed his stance on opening of liquor shops in unauthorised areas. "The cabinet's policy was earlier cleared by former LG, but the decision was later revoked. This led to losses worth thousands of crores. Why was this decision taken? I hope the CBI carries out a fair probe."

The Delhi excise policy has emerged as a flashpoint between the AAP and the BJP-ruled central government. Before Sisodia, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had written to the central probe agency, recommending a probe into the liquor policy that was cleared by the Aam Aadmi Party government last year. The policy amid the row was then put on hold. Later, however, it was given a temporary extension for one month.

“The new policy was implemented in 2021. But the implementation was stopped by some people in power to benefit a select few. I have written to the CBI, urging them to probe how and why this happened.”

“Earlier, 849 shops in the national capital were unevenly distributed. In the new policy, equitable distribution was underlined to avoid instances like hooch tragedy. Before clearing the policy, (former) LG read it carefully,” Sisodia said at a press briefing. “He suggested changes. Then we sent it to him with revisions in June. It was cleared by him the second time.”

Stressing on “equitable distribution”, Sisodia underlined that the former LG had not objected to the setting up of the shops in “unauthorized areas”, and read it “twice”.

“But when the shops had to be opened, including in unauthorized areas, then L-G sahab changed his stand. This is the root cause of the trouble. This happened in November. At that time, he said that the DDA and the MCD will have to clear the opening of the shops. But they could not… and this was known.”

Alleging that the government suffered losses worth thousands of crores, after matter of new licenses reached court and relaxation of fee was suggested, Sisodia said that the former LG “changed his decision without discussing with the cabinet”, which "led to losses worth thousands of crores, and benefitted only a few vendors".

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