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Destabilizing of AAP govt starts, CBI probe called against AAP

IndiaDestabilizing of AAP govt starts, CBI probe called against AAP

Destabilizing of AAP Govt in Delhi has started with a CBI probe into the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s controversial new excise policy.

Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena today recommended an investigation by probe agency Central Bureau of Investigation into the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s polemic new excise policy. A July 8 report by the Chief Secretary confirmed several violations of established law “in addition to deliberate and gross procedural lapses to provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees”, a media release from Mr Saxena’s office said.

Directly naming Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the Lieutenant Governor said the report indicates “substantial” financial favours at the top political level. The new excise policy was implemented “with the sole aim” of benefitting private liquor barons for financial benefits to individuals at the highest echelons of the government leading up to Manish Sisodia, the Lieutenant Governor alleged.

“Minister In-charge of the Excise Department, Manish Sisodia took and got executed, major decisions/actions in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications,” Mr Saxena’s statement said.

He also blamed Mr Sisodia of raising undue financial favours to the liquor licensees much after the tenders had been awarded, causing “huge losses” to the ex-chequer.

“Minister In-charge of the Excise Department, Manish Sisodia took and got executed, major decisions/actions in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications,” Mr Saxena’s statement said.

The new Excise policy 2021-22 was implemented on November 17 last year under which retail licences were given to private bidders for 849 vends across the city divided into 32 zones.

Many liquor stores failed to open for being located in non-confirming areas of the city. Several such vends were sealed by the municipal corporations.

The BJP and Congress had strongly opposed the policy and lodged complaints with the Lieutenant Governor as well as central agencies for a probe into it.

Earlier this week, the Lieutenant Governor had blocked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Singapore visit. The party had hit back, with Mr Sisodia terming the move “mean politics” at work.

The Aam Aadmi Party has claimed Mr Saxena is acting under the direction of the Centre, which is desperate to stop the party’s rising popularity. Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said PM Modi and his party are “jealous” of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s recent electoral successes and would do anything to stop them.  Some claim this is an attempt to destabilize the AAP government.

Mr Kejriwal was invited to the “World Cities Summit” back in June by Singapore High Commissioner Simon Wong. He is expected to address the meeting on August 1.  While Delhi L-G Saxena rejects Kejriwal’s Singapore travel proposal, saying the Mayors’ conference did not ‘befit attendance’ by CM, Kejriwal is defiant and determined to attend the conference.

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