The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting raids in multiple cities including New Delhi in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, according to people familiar with the matter. Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who has been named as an accused in the CBI’s FIR in the alleged liquor scam case, said that the raids are part of an attempt to “stop the good work being done by” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Speaking to reporters, Sisodia said, “first the CBI conducted raids, they found nothing. Now, the ED is conducting raids, they too won’t find anything,” adding that they will “only find more blueprints of schools.”
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said the ED also gave “clean chit” to Manish Sisodia. “The ED is conducting raids at many places but it did not come to Manish Sisodia’s residence for conducting raids. It was because they knew that nothing will be found in the raid, so they did not conduct any raid. After the CBI, the ED has now also given clean chit to Sisodia,” said Bharadwaj.
The central investigative agency, tasked with probing money laundering cases and violations of foreign exchange law, has taken over the CBI case. The searches were carried out at over dozen locations in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Haryana and Telangana linked to private individuals and entities including liquor distributors, middlemen, and license holders among others.
Earlier, CBI had conducted searches at Sisodia’s official residence besides several locations in connection with the alleged corruption in the implementation of Delhi’s excise policy. Sisodia is likely to be named as accused in the money laundering probe as well.
Sisodia is under the scanner for alleged deliberate and gross procedural lapses which provided undue benefits to the tender process for liquor licensees for the year 2021-22. Delhi chief secretary’s report suggests prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules 2010, indicating financial quid pro quo at the top political level in the implementation of Delhi excise policy 2021-22.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has maintained that the allegations of corruption labelled against Sisodia are politically motivated and accused BJP of trying to buy MLAs to oust the Kejriwal-led Delhi government.