New Delhi : The CBI on Friday quizzed Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for “clarifications” in connection with a preliminary enquiry against him related to alleged irregularities in the ‘Talk to AK’ campaign.
The agency had asked Sisodia for a convenient time and place for an interaction. The AAP leader is understood to have called a CBI team at his residence today, sources said.
The sleuths kept “seeking clarifications” for over six hours at his residence, they said. The CBI sources said a similar exercise had already been carried out with other people linked to the campaign including Dilip Cherian, the head of well-known public relations company Perfect Relations.
A message sent to Cherian seeking his reaction remained unanswered.
The CBI had registered the PE in January on the basis of a complaint filed by the Vigilance Department of the Delhi government. The sources said no search or raid was conducted at the premises of Sisodia. According to rules, no search or raid can be carried out under a PE.
The vigilance plaint had alleged the Delhi government had hired a consultant of Perfect Relations to promote the “Talk to AK” campaign and a proposal of Rs 1.5 crore was prepared for this purpose. AK stands for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
It alleged that despite objections from the principal secretary, the government went ahead with the proposal and the consultant spent the money thereby creating a liability for the government.
The sources said the CBI had registered the PE to probe these allegations and is looking into the alleged role of Sisodia and others. Reacting to the grilling, AAP government cried foul and accused the Centre of using the “caged parrot” to victimise dissenters.
“While CM (Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal is busy inspecting hospitals, the Centre busy victimising! CBI raids at Dy CM (Deputy Chief Minister) residence!,” Sisodia’s Media Adviser Arunoday Prakash said in a tweet.
On May 8, 2013, the Supreme Court had dubbed the CBI a “caged parrot that speaks in its master’s voice” and had asked the Centre whether it intended to make the agency’s functioning independent.
Prakash said: “Earlier CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office was raided. The Centre using caged parrot to victimise voices of dissent! #RIPDemocracy,” he said, adding that the Delhi government will not be scared.
“If they think Manish Sisodia will get afraid and stop working for schools after CBI raids, they are mistaken! Highly mistaken!”
Taking a dig at the BJP-led central government, Prakash said it has got new allies for the 2019 General Elections — including the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, and Income Tax Department.
The ‘Talk To AK’ campaign was an interactive session of the Delhi Chief Minister through which people could reach out to the AAP supremo through social media.