The Liquor Scam Case
Manish Sisodia Arrest – The CBI arrested Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today in connection with the capital’s now-canceled liquor sales policy, bringing the case back into the spotlight.
The investigation is related to the now-withdrawn Delhi liquor sales policy, which was implemented in 2021.
Manish Sisodia is the head of Delhi’s excise department who did a Liquor Scam, which is how he got in trouble.
In contrast to the norms in most states, the policy prohibited the government from selling liquor and instead allowed only private shops to do so and arrest in Liquor Scam cases.
The primary goal was to reduce black marketing, increase revenue, and improve the customer experience. It also permitted liquor delivery to homes and shops to remain open until 3 a.m.
Licensees could also provide an unlimited number of discounts. The government reported a significant 27 percent increase in income as a result of the policy, totaling approximately 8,900 crores.
However, the reforms quickly ran into problems, first with the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing, which reports to the BJP-led government at the center.
Then, with Delhi’s new Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, also a central government representative. Mr. Saxena requested a CBI investigation after citing a report from Delhi’s top bureaucrat that accused Mr. Sisodia of breaking rules and providing improper benefits to liquor vend licensees and did a Liquor Scam.
Not long after, Manish Sisodia announced that the policy would be scrapped because the BJP was using the investigating agencies under its control to intimidate vendors.
He additionally blamed Mr. Saxena’s predecessor, Anil Baijal, for a “last-minute change” that stymied the reforms.
Mr. Sisodia had now no longer been named withinside the chargesheet filed through the organization previous to his arrest.
However, the CBI raided 31 locations last year, including his home. The agency did not find anything incriminating, according to the minister, a claim that was not challenged by the agency.
Separately, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched an investigation into the Delhi liquor scam, alleging money laundering, and alleging that a Liquor Scam lobby known as the “South Group” paid at least 100 crores in kickbacks to the AAP for its Goa election.
The ED broadened the scope of the investigation, arresting K Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, another vocal critic of the BJP.
It claimed the policy cost the government Rs. 2,800 crore. The AAP has denied all charges, claiming that the investigation is an attempt by the BJP to settle political scores.
However, it has stated that it will cooperate with investigators. Arvind Kejriwal, the party’s leader, and Delhi Chief Minister had stated, “There is no such thing as a liquor scam. We developed the best and most transparent policy in the country.”
Arguments Made in Court
According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Manish Sisodia played a direct role in the alleged liquor policy scam in Delhi.
The statement was made by the investigation agency on Friday at Delhi’s Rose Avenue Court during Sisodia’s bail hearing.
The ED told the court that the policy was written without considering the expert committee’s recommendations in order to benefit specific individuals.
It stated that the policy was written in such a way that select wholesalers received a profit margin of 12 percent, which was six percent higher than it should have been.
The profit margin was kept at 12 percent, which was completely against the policy, according to the ED, which also stated that it has proof that the decision was made at Sisodia’s request.
The ED also stated that certain aspects of the policy were never discussed by the Group of Ministers (GoM). The policy, on the other hand, was approved and implemented.
It cited a former excise commissioner who stated that the GoM had requested various types of data but that they were never discussed.
Manish Sisodia, according to the investigation agency, did not cooperate in the investigation. Manish Sisodia was arrested on February 26 by the CBI and on Thursday by the ED on suspicion of money laundering in connection with the case.
He was remanded in custody until March 20. Dayan Krishna, Manish Sisodia’s lawyer, told the court that it has become “fashion these days that the agencies take arrests as a right.”
“These days, arrests are treated as a right by law enforcement agencies. “The courts must crack down hard on this sense of entitlement,” Dayan Krishna said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demonstrated outside the courthouse, raising slogans in support of Sisodia, while supporters of the BJP demanded Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation over the case.
Several AAP leaders have been detained outside the CBI headquarters in New Delhi, where Sisodia is being questioned about the excise policy.
Around 50 people have been detained, including AAP MP Sanjay Singh and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai, according to the Delhi Police.
The party’s leaders gathered outside the headquarters to show their support for Sisodia. The CBI also claims that Sisodia and excise officials provided improper benefits to liquor license holders.
It has also alleged that people in the liquor business were “actively involved in irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy”.
Vijay Nair, a former employee of wine and spirits behemoth Pernod Ricard, Amandeep Dhal of Brindco Spirits, and Sameer Mahendru of Indospirit are among those accused.
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