Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday for nearly nine hours in connection with the alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. The interrogation which started at 11.30 am lasted till 8.30 in the night.
Reports said the Aam Aadmi Party leader has not been summoned for a second session of questioning. A CBI official told news agency ANI that the investigation team will evaluate the answers given by Sisodia and if needed, he will be summoned again later.
Later, talking to reporters, Sisodia made some sensational allegations, saying he was pressured to quit the AAP and was even offered the Delhi chief minister's post. The agency officials had apparently implied that he join the BJP, which he flatly refused, Sisodia said.
"Pressure was put on me to quit the AAP. I was offered the Delhi chief minister's post or face jail term," he said. "when I said that there was nothing in the case against me, I was told there was no case against even Satyendra Jain yet he was in jail," he added.
"BJP says there is a Rs 10,000 crore excise scam. I found at CBI office that there is no scam and the case is fake. The fake case against me is a conspiracy to make BJP's 'Operation Lotus' a success in Delhi," Sisodia said.
The AAP leader further said he told the agency officials that he was happy when a rickshaw puller's son became an engineer and not thinking of becoming CM.
The probe agency dismissed Sisodia's allegations and said the investigation against him in the case will continue as per the law. "The CBI strongly refutes these allegations and reiterates that examination of Sisodia was carried out in a professional and legal manner strictly as per the allegations against him in the FIR. The investigation of the case will continue as per the law," the agency said in a statement.
The AAP had earlier alleged a “political vendetta” behind the CBI move and claimed that Sisodia was likely to be arrested on Monday as the “BJP wants to keep him in jail until the Assembly elections in Gujarat gets over”.
"They will keep him (Sisodia) behind bars till December 8. They do not want him to campaign here,” AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said addressing a poll rally in Unjha in Mehsana district of Gujarat.
What is the case about?
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI probe after allegations of irregularities were raised in the formulation and execution of the Delhi excise policy, which was brought out in November last year.
The CBI registered an FIR in a special court in Delhi in August against Sisodia and 14 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which deals with taking undue advantage to influence a public servant by corrupt or illegal means, or by the exercise of personal influence. The federal agency also conducted searches at the premises of Sisodia and his close associates.
According to the FIR, payments in crores were allegedly made to "close associates" of Sisodia by Sameer Mahendru, owner of Indospirits, one of the liquor traders actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy.
The FIR alleged that Sisodia's "close associates" Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt. Limited in Gurugram, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey were "actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees" for the accused public servants.