The CBI will question Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today in connection with alleged irregularities in the liquor excise policy case.
The CBI had called Mr Sisodia for questioning on February 19, but he had sought a week’s time as he was busy preparing the Delhi Budget in his capacity as finance minister of the AAP government.
The BJP’s Delhi unit, however, called Mr Sisodia’s request an “excuse”.
Mr Sisodia and others face allegations of corruption in drawing up a new excise policy to favour a cartel in the distribution of retail licences for the sale of liquor in Delhi.
The CBI has said it is now focusing on the alleged influence of a “South India Lobby” of businessmen and politicians making the Delhi liquor policy swing in their favour with bribes to middlemen and bureaucrats that reached the top.
Recently, the CBI arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, a former chartered accountant of K Kavitha, the leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
The Excise Policy 2021-22 was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year after a CBI investigation was recommended by Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena into “violation of norms and lapses”.
The CBI had registered an FIR in a special court in August last year against Sisodia and 14 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It is alleged the Delhi government’s policy to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it. However, the AAP leadership has denied the charges.