The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s close aide, Vijay Nair, communications chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the alleged liquorgate scam.
AAP’s communications chief, Nair, is among 15 people, including Sisodia, whose names are included in the FIR. Nair was called for questioning at the agency office on Tuesday. According to the sources, “Nair was arrested for his alleged role in” cartelisation “and “conspiracy” related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of a liquor license in the national capital.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet said, “Inflation is increasing common man’s pocket is getting empty – when they should work on reducing inflation – Then they have just one job for 24hrs, thinking how to crush AAP. Now Vijay Nair has been arrested.”
The FIR alleged that Sisodia’s partner Arjun Pandey had collected about Rs 2-4 crore in cash from Sameer Mahandru, owner, Indospirits, for Vijay Nair. Meanwhile, Sameer Mahandru was also detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) earlier today.
While Nair was abroad, allegations were made that he had fled the country, which he denied.
A statement from AAP read, “Vijay Nair is communication in-charge of AAP. He was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies in Punjab earlier and Gujarat now. ” The Aam Aadmi Party claims that the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is attempting to crush AAP and form obstructions in AAP’s ongoing Gujarat campaign.
AAP asserted that Vijay was called for questioning and was pressurized to take Sisodia’s name. Upon Nair’s refusal to do so, threats were made regarding an arrest. Nair’s house was raided twice last month, but nothing was found there.
In a tweet on September 19, Sisodia criticised the investigation agency, asking whether the goal was to target MCD polls rather than the liquor policy. The tweet read, “The ED has summoned AAP’s MCD poll in-charge Durgesh Pathak today. What has our MCD poll in-charge to do with the Delhi government’s excise policy? Is their target liquor policy or MCD poll? “
The AAP has called the case politically stimulated, claiming that the BJP is afraid of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “emergence as a national alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi ordered an investigation into the New Excise Policy in July. That same month, the AAP government withdrew the regulation, which went into effect in November of the previous year, and let private players into the liquor trade. According to the AAP, the strategy was intended to increase revenue but was “shot down by the BJP’s federal government via the Lieutenant Governor.”