Manish Sisodia's Aide Vijay Nair, Key Player In AAP Backroom, Arrested In Liquor Policy Case

Once an event manager for top music bands and comedy shows, Vijay Nair is a communications chief for AAP, strategy driver in Punjab, Gujarat

Vijay Nair, AAP communications in-charge, in custody.

New Delhi:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested Vijay Nair, an aide of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and communications chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for an alleged scam in the since-withdrawn liquor policy of Arvind Kejriwal's government. Vijay Nair is one of 15 persons, including Mr Sisodia, named in the FIR.

He was abroad for some time — he'd denied allegations of having "run away" — and was called for questioning at the CBI office on Tuesday, after which he was arrested for an alleged role in "cartelisation" and "conspiracy" in allocation of liquor licences. 

The party said after his arrest that he "has nothing to do with excise policy" and that the case is "baseless".

"Vijay Nair is communication in-charge of AAP. He was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies in Punjab earlier and Gujarat now," the party statement read. It said the arrest is "part of BJP's ongoing attempt to crush AAP and obstruct AAP's Gujarat campaign".

The CBI has alleged that bribes from a liquor firm owner were collected through Vijay Nair, whom it described as the former CEO of Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company based in Mumbai. 

The AAP claimed, "He was called for questioning last few days and was pressurised to take the name of Manish Sisodia. When he refused to do that, he was threatened that he would be arrested. His house was raided twice in last one month but nothing was found."

Vijay Nair, 38, has been associated with AAP for a while, The Print recently reported: "A college dropout, he came into prominence in the early 2000s as a band manager for top indie music acts like Pentagram, and also founded the event management company OML, best known for organising live music festivals and eventually comedy collectives like AIB," the report said.

The AAP has described the case as politically motivated and claimed the BJP government is scared of Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal's “emergence as a national alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

It was in July that Delhi Lieutenant Governor ordered a probe into the New Excise Policy. That same month, the AAP government government withdrew the policy, which had come into force in November last year and brought private players into liquor trade. The AAP said the policy was for more revenue "but scuttled by the BJP's central government using the Lieutenant Governor".

The BJP says kickbacks were taken for contracts.

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