A day after his house was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Saturday, 20 August, that he will be arrested in the next two or three days.
"Satyendar Jain is already in jail, I will also be arrested in 2-3 days; there is a conspiracy to stop work in education and health sector," Sisodia claimed while addressing a press conference.
He also said that the CBI had been directed by the central government's highest level to conduct the raids.
"I want to thank the CBI for not causing any inconvenience to my family. They are good officers but they have orders from above to carry out raids," Sisodia said, claiming that the state's excise policy was implemented with "complete transparency."
He also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not interested in the policy, and that their main concern was the growing popularity of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is "loved by masses and has emerged as a national option (against Prime Minister Narendra Modi)."
"Kejriwal appreciates those who do good work but Modi only dreams of making state governments fall and using central agencies like CBI and ED to target those who are doing good," the Delhi deputy CM said.
He also said that the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be fought between Delhi CM Kejriwal and PM Modi.
Meanwhile, Congress workers staged protests outside the AAP's office in Delhi, demanding Sisodia's resignation.
Congress workers hold placards during their protest demanding resignation of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, outside the AAP's office in New Delhi.
Congress workers burn an effigy during their protest demanding the resignation of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, outside the DPCC office in New Delhi.
'CBI Seized my Computer, Mobile Phone': Sisodia
Hours after the raids on Friday, Sisodia said that the CBI had seized his computer and mobile phone after several hours of search and also took away some files.
Speaking to the media after the conclusion of the 15-hour-long raids at over 20 locations, Sisodia said: "The CBI team reached in the morning and searched the whole house. My family and myself extended them full cooperation. They seized my computer and mobile phone. They also took away some files."
Asserting that he did not commit any wrong and was not scared of the CBI probe, Sisodia alleged that the Centre was misusing the agency to stop the Arvind Kejriwal government from "doing good work" in Delhi.
The CBI's FIR
Amid the political storm that erupted in the national capital on Friday over the raids, the CBI alleged that a liquor trader paid Rs 1 crore to a company managed by an associate of Sisodia. The FIR was registered on a reference from the office of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena routed through the Union Home Ministry.
Here are some key allegations the CBI stated in the FIR:
The agency has named 15 people in its FIR registered on 17 August under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In addition to Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio, the CBI has named as accused then Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, then Deputy Excise Commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari, Assistant Excise Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar, nine businessmen, and two companies.
The CBI has alleged that Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited in Gurgaon, Dinesh Arora, and Arjun Pandey are "close associates" of Sisodia and were "actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees" for the accused public servants.
The CBI has alleged that Radha Industries managed by Dinesh Arora received Rs 1 crore from Sameer Mahendru of Indospirits.
Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to the accused public servants through Vijay Nair, the CBI alleged, quoting a source.
A person named Arjun Pandey has once collected a huge cash amount of about Rs 2-4 crore from Sameer Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair, it said.
The agency alleged that Sunny Marwah's Mahadev Liquors was granted an L-1 licence under the policy. It also alleged that Marwah, who was on the board of firms of the dead liquor baron Ponty Chadha, was in close contact with the accused public servants and regularly paid bribes to them.
BJP's 'Money Shh' Jibe at Sisodia
The BJP on Saturday sharpened its attack on Kejriwal, with Union Minister Anurag Thakur describing him as the "kingpin" of the "liquor scam" in the capital.
Addressing a press conference, Thakur said the AAP should not try to divert attention from the excise scam by raising other issues as its "real face has been unmasked."
Taking a dig at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Thakur referred to him as "Money Shh," alleging that he makes money and maintains silence.
Thakur was flanked by Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta and Lok Sabha member Manoj Tiwari.
(With inputs from PTI).