Double setback for Arvind Kejriwal in liquor scam case as CBI summons him for grilling; Supreme Court rejects Manish Sisodia’s application

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In a double setback for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, the federal probe agency, CBI, summoned him for questioning in the liquor scam case. The news came just hours after the Supreme Court rejected Manish Sisodia’s bail application in the same case. Sisodia worked as the deputy chief minister of Delhi under Kejriwal at the time of the alleged scam.

Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal has been told to appear before the CBI on 2 November when the investigators will question him about his alleged role in the scam.

The two developments have prompted the rival BJP in Delhi to demand Kejriwal’s resignation.

Also Read: Setback for Manish Sisodia as court extends judicial custody till 17 April days after judge calls AAP leader ‘architect’ of liquor scam

Delhi BJP President Virendraa Sachdeva wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “On November 2, ED has summoned Kejriwal in the liquor scam case. The number of the real mastermind of the liquor scam @ArvindKejriwal is also coming soon. Not even a single corrupt person will be left, remember Kejriwal.”

Sisodia is believed to be the prime accused in the case.

What’s Delhi Liquor Scam?

The Delhi Excise Police was first proposed in 2020. The central idea behind implementing policy was to remove the Delhi government from the liquor business and hand over the business to private players. The AAP government said that its intention was to crack down the liquor mafia in line with its stand on corruption.

The new policy was implemented in November last year.

Under the new policy, the minimum age of buying and consumption of alcohol was brought down from 25 to 21. Shops were also allowed to offer discounts on liquor for the first time. This prompted government stores, wanting to clear their old stock, to offer buy-one-get-one discounts before the new policy kicked in.

The national capital was divided into 32 zones with each zone having 27 liquor vends.

A total of 849 new licences were given to private players through a public tendering process initiated by the Excise Department under the control of Sisodia.

What causes trouble for Sisodia is a report by a civil servant from his own government, who accused him of ‘deliberate and gross procedural lapses’ to provide post-tender ‘undue benefits to liquor licensees.’

The report by Delhi’s chief secretary, submitted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, highlighted prima facie violations of several laws including GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010.

The report also stated that Sisodia gave undue favours in awarding the liquor licences by revising the rates of foreign liquor and removing the levy fee of Rs. 50 on imported beer. Sisodia is accused of making these and other changes in the Excise Policy without the approval of the LG. Under the rules, any changes made in the excise policy after its implementation has to be submitted to the cabinet before being sent to the LG for approval.

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