The BJP on Wednesday alleged the Delhi government ignored recommendations of a three-member expert panel set up to reform the liquor trade in the city and gave licences to companies that paid “hefty commissions” to the ruling AAP.
It alleged the AAP government did not follow the suggestions of its own panel to “gain an unfair advantage” in the Punjab polls and is now deflecting the BJPs questions on the issue.
At a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is the “kingpin” of the liquor policy “scam” but he did not sign a single file in an attempt to avoid investigation.
Asked about the AAPs claim that the BJP tried to bribe four of its legislators in Delhi, Patra said: “They may have got such offers from liquor mafia. Why dont they tell the names of the people who approached them?” The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed on Wednesday that the BJP has approached four of its legislators in Delhi, asking them to switch sides and join the saffron party or else, face “false cases, the CBI and the ED”.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, who also addressed the news conference, said the AAP has failed to give direct and specific answers to questions posed by his party.
The Delhi government handed over the wholesale liquor business to private players despite the expert panel recommending against it, Patra claimed.
He also alleged that the city government allowed cartelisation in the liquor business by giving multiple retail licences to big companies. “The AAP needed mota maal (hefty commission) for the Punjab polls. So, whoever gave them mota maal got licences.” Neither the Kejriwal government floated any tender nor it issued any public notice. It gave licences to its “liquor mafia friends”, the BJP spokesperson alleged.
“Blacklisted companies also got licences,” he claimed.
The BJP leader said the AAP is now trying to “deflect” his partys questions on malpractices in the implementation of liquor policy.
“Manish (Sisodia) Ji, you may be the worlds best education minister, but you should immediately convene a press conference and answer what were you doing in your capacity as the excise minister.
“Is it not true that you ignored the recommendations of the panel on the retail and wholesale liquor business? On whose direction did you do so?” Patra posed.
The ED has registered a money laundering case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and others to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi Excise policy after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR that has named Sisodia and 14 others.
The CBI had conducted raids in the 2021-22 excise policy case on August 19 and had covered the residence of Sisodia in Delhi, that of IAS officer and former Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and 19 other locations across seven states and Union Territories. Sisodia holds multiple portfolios in the Delhi government including that of excise and education.
The ED will probe if there were alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the Delhi Excise Policy unveiled in November last year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)