Delhi liquor scam: Kejriwal quizzed by CBI for over nine hours

Kejriwal faced several questions from the agency that is probing various aspects of the alleged scam in which files and evidence are still missing or have not been handed over by some of the accused.

Published: 16th April 2023 09:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2023 09:24 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal arrives at the CBI office for questioning in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, in New Delhi on Sunday. (Photo | ANI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal left the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in Delhi around 8.30 pm after being quizzed by the agency for over 9 hours throughout Sunday in connection with the ongoing investigations into the corruption charges in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

Kejriwal had arrived at the CBI headquarters in Delhi around 11.05 am to answer questions after being summoned by the CBI under section 161 of the CrPC as a witness.

Section 161 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 allows “examination of a person as witnesses” and provides for oral examination of the person by any investigating officer on assumption that the person might be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of a case.

The scam which was a fallout of ‘tweaks’ made in the Delhi Excise Policy which benefitted a group of liquor traders and caused losses to the Delhi government is being probed by CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) following allegations of corruption and money laundering. According to the probing agencies, the alleged ‘tweaks’ had resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 2873 crores to the Delhi Government.

Kejriwal faced several questions from the agency that is probing various aspects of the alleged scam in which files and evidence are still missing or have not been handed over by some of the accused.

The agency, which started questioning the Delhi CM, is investigating his role in the scam and also his associations with some of the top accused – including Sameer Mahendru and Vijay Nair - as alleged in the statements by some of the witnesses and accused during the investigations. Also, CBI had questions about allegations that several major decisions regarding the Delhi Excise Policy had taken place at his residence.

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While leaving for the CBI headquarters from his home at Flag Staff Road, Kejriwal told the media that "some anti-national forces don’t want India to develop.”

He said, “For 75 years those forces had stalled India's progress but now India won’t stop. I want to tell these forces that the country will continue to progress: People of India want the country to progress."

This is the first the Delhi CM was summoned in connection with the scam.

Kejriwal’s name figured in the Delhi Excise scam for the first time when the Directorate of Enforcement made disclosures about the Delhi chief Minister’s involvement in the Delhi Excise Case, in the second chargesheet filed before a Special ED Court on January 6.

Alleging that Kejriwal had "connived" with the accused, including his colleague and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, the ED in its chargesheet said that the CM, during one of the video calls with the accused number one, Sameer Mahendru, had said that Vijay Nair was is his (Kejriwal’s) boy and that Sameer should trust him and carry on with him. The agency claimed that the call had happened when the policy was being formulated.

Stating that “These facts are relevant to mention so as to establish the abetment of his (Kejriwal) actions in relation to the Excise policy scam by the political leaders of AAP,” the ED in a chargesheet filed before Special Judge MK Nagpal said, “Vijay Nair who orchestrated this entire scam is not an ordinary worker of the AAP bust a close associate of CM Arvind Kejriwal and was closely interacting with Deputy CM for the Excise Policy related matters.”

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The ED's allegations against Kejriwal were based on the various statements recorded during the investigation including that of C Arvind, a DANICS officer and secretary to Sisodia.

The DANICS officer had deposed before the agency regarding the formulation of the policy and the circumstances under which changes were incorporated in it which eventually led to the scam and caused losses to the Delhi Exchequer.

The CBI which arrested Sisodia in connection with the case on February 26 for non-cooperation in the investigation has filed one chargesheet so far in the case on November 25, naming seven accused including Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Arun R. Pillai, Mootha Gautham, Sameer Mahendru, Kuldeep Singh, who was the then Deputy Commissioner, Excise Narender Singh, the then Asst. Commissioner, Excise Department.

The CBI registered the Delhi Excise case 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.

The FIR was lodged after Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. Sisodia, in-charge of the excise department at the relevant period when the policy was formulated and implemented.

It was alleged that the policy, which was brought into effect in November 2021, was influenced at the formulation stage to benefit certain businessmen, liquor distributors and traders. Following the registration of the case the Delhi government had withdrawn the policy with effect from 31 July 2022.


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