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Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia seeks more time as CBI summons him in liquor policy case

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was summoned by the CBI on Sunday for questioning in connection with irregularities in the liquor excise policy case, has requested for more time to appear before the investigative agency.

 He told reporters that as finance minister of the AAP government he was currently preparing the Delhi government’s Budget for 2023-24.
“Being the Finance Minister of Delhi, preparing the budget is very important, so I have requested to shift the date. I have always cooperated with these agencies,” Sisodia said.

Sisodia has been called to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in the national capital today for questioning in the Delhi liquor excise policy case.

Taking to Twitter, Sisodia had himself shared the development and added that the full power of central agencies was being used against him. He further said that he will cooperate with the probe agency, as he has continued to do earlier.

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The Excise Policy 2021-22 was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year after a CBI investigation was recommended by Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena into “violation of norms and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.