A day after an officer on special duty in Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's office was arrested by the CBI for alleged bribery, BJP MP Parvesh Verma today decided to make the most of the situation by drawing a link between the incident and the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"OSD is just for name... This money goes into Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's pocket, who spends it on biryani for people at Shaheen Bagh," Parvesh Verma, a politician known for making controversial statements, told news agency ANI.
Manish Sisodia promptly responded to the BJP MP's comment by sending him a legal notice.
The officer on special duty or OSD was taken into custody by the central probe agency on Thursday, just two days before Delhi's assembly elections. Manish Sisodia, however, did not see a problem with the circumstances surrounding the arrest. "What the CBI did is right... strictest action should be taken to set an example. I have no issues with the timing of arrest. Whoever takes a bribe should be caught immediately. We have zero tolerance for corruption," he said.
Parvesh Verma's statement, however, is being seen as yet another attempt by the BJP to link the ruling Aam Aadmi Party with the ongoing protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh. He was earlier censured by the Election Commission on two occasions for making inflammatory remarks against the protesters and calling Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal a "terrorist".
The "biryani" reference was first made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during an election rally in the national capital a few days ago. "The BJP is working with zero tolerance towards terrorism. But Kejriwal is busy sponsoring and offering biryani in Shaheen Bagh," the firebrand leader had said in Delhi's Badarpur constituency. The Election Commission responded by serving a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
The OSD - identified as Gopal Krishna Madhav - was caught red-handed by the CBI while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh to settle a case of tax evasion. He was taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning before being placed under arrest.
Delhi will vote on Saturday, and the results will be declared three days later.