The CBI has called Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday for questioning in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case nearly three months after filing the chargesheet in the case, officials said.
Sisodia, who also held the charge of the excise department, has not been named as accused in the chargesheet as the investigation against him and other suspects is still underway, they said. He was earlier questioned on October 17 last year and his home and bank lockers were also searched in connection with the case. “Further investigation in the case regarding the money trail and the larger conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 is still in progress,” an official said.
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In a tweet, Sisodia said nothing was found against him during searches, and he would continue cooperating in the investigation. “The CBI has called me again. They have used the full power of CBI, ED against me, raided my house, searched bank locker, but nothing was found against me,” he said.
Apparently referring to the centre, Sisodia said that the CBI has been made to go after him because “they” want to stop him from doing “good work” in Delhi’s education sector. “They want to stop me. I have always cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so,” he said.
CBI focus on South Lobby now
The investigating agency is now focussed on the alleged influence of a “South Lobby” of businessmen and politicians in formulating and implementing Delhi liquor policy to swing it in their favour using middlemen, liquor traders, and public servants.
Arrested businessmen Vijay Nair and Abhishek Boinpally were among the seven accused whose names figured in the chargesheet filed on November 25 last year. It is alleged the Delhi government’s policy to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
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It was further alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc. “It was also alleged that illegal gains on the count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties by making false entries in their account books,” a CBI spokesperson had said.
KCR’s daughter under scanner
The CBI recently arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, a former Chartered Accountant of K Kavitha, a BRS MLC and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. It is alleged that Babu had met several accused named in the FIR in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai and was one of the prime negotiators from the South Lobby, which wanted to swing the now scrapped excise policy for 2021-22 in its favour.
The CBI had also questioned Kavitha in connection with the case in December last year. During its probe, the CBI had found evidence that Babu acted on behalf of the South Lobby reportedly comprising the Telangana MLC, YSRCP MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, and Aurobindo Pharma’s P Sarat Chandra Reddy.
(With Agency inputs)