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Explainer: Why the CBI has arrested Manish Sisodia  

Aam Admi Party leader Manish Sisodia.

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested yesterday by the CBI after being questioned for over eight hours for alleged irregularities in the Delhi liquor excise policy which had for the first time introduced private players in the retail market. 

*The CBI said, “He (Manish Sisodia) gave evasive replies and did not cooperate in the investigation despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary.”

*Custodial interrogation was, therefore, necessary to put Mr Sisodia through intense questioning, the investigative agency said.

*The CBI said, “The case was registered against Deputy Chief Minister and in charge Excise Minister of the Delhi government and 14 others for investigation into the matter of alleged irregularities in framing and implementation of Excise Policy for the year 2021-22 and extending post tender benefits to private persons.”

*Sisodia was questioned on various aspects of the excise policy – including his alleged link with Dinesh Arora and other accused mentioned in the FIR, and details of message exchanges from multiple phones.

* The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing of the 2021 policy, for which kickbacks to the tune of Rs 30 crore was paid by a liquor lobby called the “South Group”.

*The policy would have led to a 12 per cent profit for them, of which 6 per cent was routed to public servants through middlemen.

*Sisodia has failed to explain at least six contentious provisions in the liquor policy that were not part of the first draft.

*Forensic tests of digital devices have revealed that the provisions came from external sources, sources said.

*The Delhi government had scrapped its new liquor policy and reverted to the old one after the CBI launched an inquiry.

*After the Delhi Chief Secretary’s report pointed out alleged irregularities in the liquor excise policy, the Lt. Governor had recommended a CBI investigation in the case.

Sisodia will be produced before the designated court Monday, CBI said.

However, Sisodia claims the case against him is fake and he is being harassed for political reasons.

Also read: CBI arrests Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia in excise policy case