Following the recommendation by Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena for a CBI investigation into the Arvind Kejriwal government’s Excise Policy, 2021-22, for alleged rule violations and procedural lapses, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday claimed that the Centre is afraid of the Delhi government and is “trying all means” to obstruct its work.
The CBI investigation was recommended in response to the Delhi chief secretary’s report, which showed prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010. Apart from that, officials said there were “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” to provide “undue benefits to liquor licensees” after the tender.
In response, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj stated at a press conference, “CM Kejriwal’s growing national reputation, even in Panchayat elections, has put the Centre in jeopardy. We have been saying, particularly since the AAP’s victory in the Punjab election, that the central government is afraid of us. Several inquiries will be launched in the coming days.”
Bharadwaj also claimed that, following the arrest of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, the CBI, Income Tax Department, and the ED went after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
“We had said that the 2016 situation would reoccur, and that CBI, income tax, and ED would launch investigations to stop us.” They are attempting to obstruct our work in any way they can. They were after our health minister, Manish Sisodia, Bharadwaj said.
The new Excise policy 2021-22 went into effect on November 17 of last year, with private bidders awarded retail licences for 849 vends spread across the city divided into 32 zones.
Many liquor stores did not open because they were in non-confirming areas of the city. Municipal corporations sealed several such vends.
The BJP and Congress had strongly opposed the policy and had filed a complaint with the L-G as well as central agencies seeking an investigation.