The CBI has taken Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, into custody today regarding the defunct liquor sales policy in the capital, which has once again brought the case to the forefront.
𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗦𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝗟𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘆
The inquiry concerns the liquor sales policy that was implemented in Delhi in 2021 but has since been revoked. Since Manish Sisodia is in charge of Delhi's excise department, he has become the focus of the investigation.
𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲 𝘂𝗽 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘂𝗲
The policy, which deviated from the practice in most states, permitted only private stores to sell liquor and excluded government involvement. The primary objective was to curb black marketing, enhance revenue generation, and provide a better experience for consumers.
The policy also sanctioned home delivery of liquor and permitted shops to operate until 3 am. Licensees could also provide unlimited discounts. The government claimed a notable 27% surge in revenue, generating approximately ₹ 8,900 crore.
𝗘𝗢𝗪, 𝗟𝗚 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘆
Nonetheless, the changes promptly encountered issues, initially with the Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing, which is under the BJP-led central government's jurisdiction. Later, with Delhi's Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, who is also a representative of the central government.
Based on a report from Delhi's highest-ranking bureaucrat, which alleged that Mr Sisodia had manipulated regulations and granted unwarranted perks to liquor vending licensees, Mr Saxena requested that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigate the matter.
𝗦𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘆 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝗝𝗣 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝘄𝗮𝘀𝗻'𝘁 𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗹 𝗻𝗼𝘄
Shortly after, Manish Sisodia announced that the policy would be terminated because the BJP was pressuring vendors using the investigating agencies under its influence. He also accused Anil Baijal, Mr Saxena's predecessor, of derailing the reforms with a "last-minute change."
Prior to his arrest today, Mr Sisodia had not been named in the chargesheet submitted by the agency. However, last year, the CBI searched 31 sites, including his residence. The minister stated that the agency did not find any evidence, a position that was not disputed by the agency.
𝗘𝗗 𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 '𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘆 𝗹𝗮𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴'
In a distinct development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated an inquiry into the Delhi liquor scam, claiming money laundering and alleging that a liquor lobby known as the "South Group" paid at least ₹ 100 crore in bribes to AAP for its Goa election campaign through one of the arrested businessmen.
The ED broadened the investigation's reach, even implicating K Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, another fierce critic of the BJP, and detaining her former accountant. It argued that the policy resulted in a loss of ₹ 2,800 crore to the government.
The AAP has dismissed all accusations and stated that the inquiry is the BJP's effort to settle political scores. Nevertheless, it has indicated that it will collaborate with investigators.
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