AAP, BJP trade charges a day after CBI’s raid on Sisodia’s residence

While Sisodia said that BJP is misusing central agencies as it is afraid of Kejriwal's rise, Union minister Anurag Thakur termed Kejriwal the ‘kingpin' of the Delhi excise scam

Sisodia’s lawyer said there is not a whisper from the agency regarding the proceeds of the crime, which is fundamental to the case. File photo

The war of words between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intensified a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out raids at 31 locations, including the residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. While Sisodia held a press conference on Saturday and accused the central government of misusing central agencies as it was afraid of Arvind Kejriwal’s popularity, Union minister attacked Sisodia and Kejriwal on the new Delhi excise policy.

Sisodia in his press conference said that CBI searches were not aimed at eliminating corruption but were meant to be a deterrent to the rise of Arvind Kejriwal. Denying any wrongdoing and accusing the BJP-led central government of using the probe agencies to further political motives, Sisodia said: “Corruption is not what Prime Minister Narendra Modi is worried about. If that was the case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI would be probing the scams in Gujarat following the hooch tragedy. They would be investigating as to why the expressway that was inaugurated by the Prime Minister washed away barely five days since opening. The Centre is just worried about the meteoric rise of Arvind Kejriwal, who has shown in Punjab that people are yearning for a change.”

Also read: After CBI raids Manish Sisodia, Delhi govt transfers 12 IAS officers

Sisodia trains guns on BJP

Hitting out at the BJP for spreading false information, Sisodia added, “I have been seeing that several leaders from the ruling party have been saying that a fraud worth thousands of crores has been committed by the Delhi government. Even Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had said that a fraud worth Rs 144 crore had been committed by us. However, the CBI’s chargesheet speaks of sources telling them that the amount is Rs 1 crore. The BJP is just using the CBI and ED to implicate Opposition leaders in false cases in a bid to destabilise the state governments.”

The Deputy CM also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the people of the country had voted him to power to govern and not hatch plots to overturn opposition-led governments. “Everyone has seen what they did in Maharashtra and Goa. And now that Arvind Kejriwal is doing such fantastic work in the field of healthcare and education, the Prime Minister is afraid of him. To date, people kept asking as to who would go up against PM Modi in 2024. I am declaring here, it will be Modi versus Kejriwal in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.”

Comparing two stories from India that have made it to the frontpage of The New York Times over the years, Sisodia said: “One is about the success of the education policy of Delhi, and the other was about the uncontrolled rise of Covid cases and deaths in India. When the latter came out, people of the country were ashamed. We did not feel good or happy about the state of governance in the country. However, now, when the story of Delhi’s education model has made it to the frontpage of NYT, every single citizen is happy and proud.”

Thakur’s attack

Union minister Anurag Thakur held a press conference just after Sisodia’s meet. He alleged that though Manish Sisodia was an accused number 1 in the alleged liquor scam case in the national capital, the kingpin was Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The CBI on Friday had named 15 people, including Sisodia, as accused in the alleged Delhi excise scam case.

Also read: CBI raids Sisodia’s house; what’s the controversy on Delhi liquor policy?

“Today’s press conference by Manish Sisodia clearly showed how the colour on his face was gone after his scam. He couldn’t even answer any questions,” Thakur said at a press conference. Alleging the AAP is trying to hide excise “scam” with other issues, Thakur took a dig at Sisodia, calling him “Money Shh” as he “makes money and maintains silence”.

“Manish ji, if your liquor policy was right, why did you take it back? It’s like ‘chor ki daadhi mei tinka’… why is there a soft corner for liquor businessmen?… I challenge Arvind Kejriwal to come in front of the nation and answer me within 24 hours,” Thakur said.