Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday hit out at the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia over the alleged "liquor corruption" that the party indulged in under its revamped excise policy.
Thakur's comments came on the day CBI carried out searches at 21 locations in the Delhi and National Capital Region, including at the premises of Manish Sisodia. According to a CBI official the searches are on in seven States and a Union Territory, including the premises of the then Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and two more public servants. Under the former Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna's tenure, the revamped Excise policy was approved.
"No matter how hard a corrupt person tries to prove himself innocent, he will still remain corrupt. This is not the first case of corruption by AAP. There has been huge corruption in the liquor stores in Delhi," Thakur said.
The Union Minister alleged that Delhi's liquor policy was withdrawn on the same day a CBI investigation was ordered into it. "If there was no scam in the liquor policy, why was it withdrawn?" Thakur asked.
Thakur also alleged that Kerjriwal was shielding the corrupt. "Even when Satyendra Jain went to jail for corruption, he did not sack him and then he (Jain) claimed that he lost his memory. The Excise Minister has become Excuse Minister but I hope that his memory should not be lost," Thakur said. Delhi health minister Jain is currently in judicial custody after being arrested in connection with a money laundering case,
On the basis of a report by the Delhi Chief Secretary, Delhi's lieutenant governor VK Saxena had in July this year recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy brought out in November 2021 over alleged violations of procedural lapses made by the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to "provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees."
The Excise policy handed over the sale of liquor to private players and shut down all government-run liquor outlets.
LG Saxena approved the suspension of 11 officials over "lapses" in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22. The suspended officials included Gopikrishna and deputy excise commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari.
The CBI registered an FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the Delhi Excise Policy.
On July 30, Mr Sisodia announced a rollback and said only government outlets would sell liquor in Delhi from August 1.
Meawhile, as CBI officials arrived at his residence this morning, Sisodia took to Twitter to post: "CBI has arrived. We are honest, building a future for lakhs of children. Unfortunate that in this country, whoever does good work is hassled just like this, that is why our country is still not number-1."
Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal also tweeted his support for Sisodia saying that nothing will come out of this raid and that many such happened in past. "I welcome CBI. We will cooperate fully. There have been many such probes, and raids in past. Nothing came out. Nothing will come out this time too," Kejriwal tweeted.
Sisodia today tweeted that allegations made against him and the Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain were not true.
"These people are troubled by the excellent work of Delhi's education and health. That is why the health minister and the education minister of Delhi are on the radar so that the good work of education and health can be stopped," Sisodia wrote.
"I extend my welcome to the CBI. I will cooperate with the investigation so that the truth comes out at the earliest. Till now many cases have been filed against me but nothing has come out. Nothing will come out of it either. My work cannot be stopped for a good education in the country," Sisodia tweeted.
Soon after the CBI arrived at Sisodia's residence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and said that they (AAP) will give full cooperation to the investigations.
"CBI is welcome. We will give full cooperation. Searches/raids took place earlier too, but nothing was found. Nothing will be found now too," Kejriwal tweeted mentioning that the CBI has raided his residence on the day when the picture of the Delhi Model and Manish Sisodia appeared on the front page of America's biggest newspaper- New York Times.
Earlier on August 7, former Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal was accused by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia of changing his stand on the issue of opening liquor shops in unauthorized areas of Delhi.