The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday, 22 August, alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) offered Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia a candidature to become the chief minister.
This comes as Sisodia faces a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into a case pertaining to Delhi's liquor policy.
In his reply, Sisodia said that he did not want to become the chief minister.
"Arvind Kejriwal is my political mentor, I will never betray him. I did not come here to become CM, my dream is that every child of the country should get a good education, only then will India become the number one country. Only Kejriwal ji can do this work in the whole country," Sisodia tweeted.
Earlier in the day, he alleged that the BJP had sent him a message inviting him to join the party and said that all the CBI cases against him would be closed in exchange.
On Twitter, the Delhi deputy CM said, "BJP's message has come to me – break AAP and join BJP, will get all CBI ED cases closed."
Sisodia further said, "My reply to the BJP – I am a Rajput, a descendant of Maharana Pratap. I will cut off my head but will not bow down in front of corrupt conspirators."
"All the cases against me are false. Do whatever you want to do," he added.
Some members of the AAP also claimed that the party has a recording of the BJP's "offer" to Sisodia and will make it public "when the time comes," news agency PTI reported.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the Centre on Twitter and said:
"Rupee is getting beaten, public is troubled by inflation, unemployment is touching the sky and these people are playing CBI ED, they are busy toppling elected governments of the people across the country, and abuse all day. To whom should people tell their problems, to whom should they go? How will such a country progress?"
'Sisodia & I May be Arrested': Kejriwal, Dep CM Address the Press
Speaking at a press conference in Gujarat later during the day, Manish Sisodia claimed, "The BJP offered me chief minister's post if I break the Aam Aadmi Party."
The Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said at the press meet:
"He (Manish Sisodia) reformed govt schools which other parties could not do in 70 years. Such a person should get Bharat Ratna. The entire country's education system should be handed over to him, but instead, they conducted CBI raids on him?"
Kejriwal told the media, "People of Gujarat are sad and are bearing the brunt of BJP regime's arrogance of last 27 years in the state."
He also said, "Manish Sisodia may be arrested, who knows I may also be arrested, all this is being done for Gujarat elections."
The AAP National Convenor also claimed that if elected to power in Gujarat, "We're guaranteeing that we'll provide free & best health treatment to all Gujaratis. Like Mohalla clinics, health clinics will be opened in cities & villages."
BJP's Protests Outside CM's Residence
Meanwhile, BJP workers launched a protest against the AAP outside CM Arvind Kejriwal's residence, news agency ANI reported.
At a press conference held on Monday, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, "It has become clear that Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia have no answer to the questions of the people."
"BJP is strongly exposing the corruption and fanatical dishonesty of Aam Aadmi Party," he added.
Bhatia also said, "Arvind Kejriwal looks at himself in the mirror and thinks of himself as a big leader. But when you look at him he will come across as dishonest because he is not answering the public's questions."
The Centre also suspended two senior bureaucrats in connection with the Delhi excise policy, PTI reported.
This comes after the two officers, A Gopi Krishna and Anand Kumar Tiwari, were named in the FIR lodged by the CBI in the case.
While Krishna held the post of excise commissioner in the Delhi government, Tiwari was the deputy excise commissioner.
What Is the CBI Case Against Sisodia?
The central investigation agency has named Sisodia as the prime accused in the case, which has been registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The FIR stated that Sisodia, then Delhi Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, and two other senior excise department officials were "instrumental in recommending and taking decisions pertaining to excise policy for the year 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post-tender."
The CBI also raided around 20 other locations in Delhi-NCR, including the premises of Arava Gopi Krishna. Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers, along with unknown public servants and private persons, have also been booked in the case.
The CBI enquiry was recommended in a report filed by the Delhi chief secretary in July.
The report allegedly showed prima facie violations of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 1992, the Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR), 1993, Delhi Excise Act, 2009, and the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010.
Officials added that there were also "deliberate and gross procedural lapses" to provide undue post-tender "benefits to liquor licensees."