On Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party held a massive demonstration outside the offices of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, calling for the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal due to corruption allegations connected to the discontinued liquor sales policy.
BJP supporters engaged in conflicts with the police and attempted to break through the barriers established to manage the crowd. Some carried signs and shouted slogans. The BJP has accused the Chief Minister in light of the recently submitted second indictment by the Enforcement Directorate, claiming it indicates his participation in corruption.
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A court on Thursday approved the supplementary indictment against five individuals and seven businesses regarding claimed anomalies in the Delhi liquor policy. The policy was abolished last year by the AAP government after an investigation was ordered by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, who represents the BJP-led central government.
The Enforcement Directorate, which is responsible for examining financial offenses and also answers to the BJP-led central government, alleged that a portion of the alleged ₹100 crore “bribes” obtained from the policy was used in the AAP’s campaign for the Goa assembly election last year.
Kejriwal has vehemently denied all allegations and stated that the case was “fabricated” with the intention of aiding the BJP in overthrowing governments.
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The ED also stated that Vijay Nair, the communications in-charge for the Aam Aadmi Party and an accused in the supposed scandal, facilitated a FaceTime video call between Kejriwal and the head of a liquor company who has since been arrested. According to the agency, Vijay Nair acted on behalf of AAP leaders and received ₹100 crore as payment for licenses in the Delhi liquor policy.
The ED has claimed in the indictment, which has been obtained by NDTV, that Vijay is “his boy” and that Kejriwal instructed Sameer Mahendru, the CEO of Indospirits, to “have faith in him and continue working with him.” Kejriwal is not listed as an accused in the indictment.
AAP sources have disputed the allegations made by the Enforcement Directorate and stated that Sameer Mahendru has informed the court that his statement was given under coercion. The Enforcement Directorate and CBI assert that modifications to Delhi’s liquor policy were made through the involvement of a lobby known as the “South Group” and involved irregularities and bribes.
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According to the agency, the group consisted of Kavitha of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi in Telangana, Magunta Srinivasalu Reddy, an MP from the ruling YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh, and Sarath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma. The agencies claim that the group waived or decreased license fees and provided unwarranted benefits to liquor license holders.
Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been named as a suspect and questioned in the case. Other individuals named as suspects include former Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari, and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
The Aam Aadmi Party asserted that the timing of the case, which emerged just before the Gujarat elections, was a ploy by the BJP to steer attention away from the elections. Following a nine-hour grilling by the Enforcement Directorate, Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia stated that the officials pressured him to abandon the party.