The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said they knew Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia would be arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today, minutes after he was taken into custody in the Delhi liquor policy case. The CBI said Mr Sisodia has not been cooperating with investigators.
"The CBI is completely at the behest of the centre. We always knew Manish Sisodia would be arrested," AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said. "It is sad and predictable how the probe agencies work," he added.
Mr Bharadwaj recited lines from 'Krishna Ki Chetawani' (The Warning of Krishna), a poem by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, which says that wisdom is the first casualty before someone's downfall. "This kind of arrogance was in Duryodhan too. When Lord Krishna went to him and put the reality in front of him and tried to talk to him, he tried to capture Lord Krishna too," said Mr Bharadwaj.
Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien said the BJP's allies have abandoned it and the party is only left with central probe agencies as its friends. "Shiv Sena, SAD, JD(U), TDP and many others have all abandoned BJP. Only CBI, ED, I-T remain true allies. Targeting opposition leaders is the desperate duo's favourite job," Mr O'Brien said.
AAP MLA Atishi said the BJP is "afraid" of Mr Kejriwal and Mr Sisodia's rise. "The AAP's increasingly popularity is the reason behind the arrest. The BJP is trying to finish off the AAP. The case is a false one," Atishi told reporters in Delhi today. She rubbished the BJP's allegations that the "liquor policy scam" was worth Rs 10,000 crore. "Where is the money? Where is the Rs 10,000 crore? You have searched everywhere, raided his home," she said.
The BJP's Manjinder Singh Sirsa denied claims by the AAP that the CBI is being misused by the centre. "He may have done work on education. But that doesn't mean he should indulge in corruption in liquor policy," Mr Sirsa told NDTV, referring to Mr Sisodia's education and finance portfolios.
AAP's Sanjay Singh directly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the arrest.
"Manish Sisodia's arrest is the height of dictatorship. Modi ji, you have not done a good thing by arresting a good person and the best Education Minister. Even God will not forgive you. One day your dictatorship will definitely end," Mr Singh tweeted.
.@msisodia की गिरफ़्तारी तानाशाही की इंतेहा है।— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) February 26, 2023
आपने एक नेक इंसान और सर्वश्रेष्ठ शिक्षा मंत्री को गिरफ़्तार करके अच्छा नही किया मोदी जी, भगवान भी आपको माफ़ नही करेगा।
एक दिन आपकी तानाशाही का अंत ज़रूर होगा मोदी जी।
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ameeq Jamei slammed the centre over the arrest. "We condemn the arrest of Manish Sisodia. Ever since the BJP has seen that the opposition is raising issues of farmers, the youth and is getting together on issues. This (arrest) is an attack on opposition unity and this will prove to be detrimental to the BJP. We want to say to the Home Minister, you want to become Indira ji, you want to become an autocrat, there has been no place for such things ever in India," Mr Jamei said in a video statement.
Mr Sisodia and others face corruption allegations in bringing a new liquor sale policy in the national capital. Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena had ordered the CBI probe last year. The Delhi government reverted to the old liquor policy and blamed the Lieutenant Governor for loss of revenue worth crores of rupees.
The BJP said the Delhi government went back to the old liquor sale policy to cover up corruption in the excise department held by Mr Sisodia.