This Article is From Feb 28, 2023

Manish Sisodia Challenges Arrest, CBI's Probe In Supreme Court

A Delhi court yesterday sent Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to five-day CBI custody in the liquor policy case

Manish Sisodia has been sent to five-day CBI custody

New Delhi:

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today challenged his arrest by the CBI in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, after hearing Mr Sisodia's lawyer Abhishek Singhvi, asked why they did not go to the high court instead before coming to the Supreme Court directly.

Mr Singhvi cited the Supreme Court's judgment in the Vinod Dua case as the reason why Mr Sisodia has approached the Supreme Court. After this, Chief Justice Chandrachud said they will hear the matter at 3:50 pm.

The Supreme Court in June 2021 cancelled a sedition case against journalist Vinod Dua over his criticism of the centre's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Dua had come to the Supreme Court directly.

A Delhi court yesterday sent Mr Sisodia to five-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Delhi liquor policy case. The central agency told the city court it needs time to question him over alleged corruption in making the new liquor policy, which was scrapped after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena flagged it.

Mr Sisodia's challenge is likely to be mentioned before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud for an urgent hearing today.

Yesterday, the CBI told the Delhi court that Mr Sisodia has been giving evasive replies to their questions and is unable to explain at least six problematic provisions in the liquor policy that were not part of the first draft.

The CBI said the changes were made at the behest of a liquor lobby in exchange for kickbacks to the tune of Rs 30 crore.

The CBI has said it is focusing on the alleged influence of a "South Lobby" of businessmen and politicians in making the liquor policy to swing in their favour using middlemen, traders and bureaucrats.

Recently, the CBI arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, a former chartered accountant of K Kavitha, leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

Yesterday, the CBI said a draft note was found on Mr Sisodia's computer, which shows the profit margin clause for liquor firms was changed from 5 per cent to 12 per cent. Investigation shows Mr Sisodia gave the draft note to the excise commissioner after removing the opinion of the legal expert from it, the CBI alleged.

Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and opposition parties in the centre including the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party have condemned the CBI over Mr Sisodia's arrest.

The AAP said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP, are scared of Mr Kejriwal and Mr Sisodia's "rise" and are trying hard to sabotage their plans for the national election next year.

The Trinamool Congress, taking a swipe at PM Modi, said the BJP is left with only a few allies, namely "ED, CBI, I-T", referring to the Enforcement Directorate and the income tax department, apart from the agency that arrested Mr Sisodia.

The BJP denied the centre has been using the CBI to harass the AAP leaders. The BJP said Mr Sisodia, who is also Delhi's Education Minister and claims to have made excellent policies to improve schools, cannot hide alleged corruption behind the safety of work done on the education front.