Excise policy scam: CBI to grill Sisodia on missing files, phones

The probe agency will confront him with evidence gathered from deposition and disclosures from other accused.

Published: 01st March 2023 07:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2023 07:45 AM   |  A+A-

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: While former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, through his battery of lawyers made representations before the Supreme Court of India challenging his arrest, the Central Bureau of Investigation who now has him in their custody - once again asked the questions – now in detail – which the former minister had allegedly refused to answer as a free man.

According to sources, the prime focus of Sisodia’s interrogation by CBI; this time in custody, will be the missing files, 14 mobile phones and four SIM cards which were swapped several times, sometimes in one day, and will be confronted with statements of accused and witnesses who have helped the CBI investigate and put together the case of corruption so far in the formulation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. 

As minister in charge of Excise Department, the policy formulated and approved by Sisodia was allegedly ‘tweaked’ to massively favour liquor traders against ‘illegal gratification’ and led to losses to Rs 2,873 crores to Delhi exchequer.

While Sisodia’s repeated response was “I don’t know” to questions about missing files that eventually led to his arrest, the CBI, during the five-day custody of Sisodia, plans to confront him with evidence they gathered during questioning of other accused and deposition and disclosures made by witnesses including officials of the Delhi Government, including accused turn approver Dinesh Arora. 

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Also, the CBI would seek explanation from Sisodia about 14 cell-phones and four mobile numbers which repeatedly swapped, sometimes several times in one day, and have gone missing. The CBI over the 5 days of custody will also confront Sisodia with accused and witnesses, including accused turn approver Dinesh Arora, who have deposed on the case and involvement of several persons in the scam, sources said.  

The special court of MK Nagpal had granted Sisodia’s remand to CBI for custodial interrogation observing that “Manish Sisodia played an active role in the commission of the alleged offences as he being a member of the Group 0f Ministers as well as the Excise Minister had manipulated certain changes in the cabinet note which was prepared on draft policy and was put up along with the expert committee report and the comments taken and the opinions received from the general public and stakeholders  with some ulterior motives and design and to help some stakeholders of the excise policy in achieving the illegal objective of cartelization and monopoly in the sale of liquor in Delhi during the above year (2021-22).”

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The remand was also considered on CBI’s submission that policy was tweaked in favour of the  liquor traders “because of alleged kickbacks of around Rs 90-100 crores paid by the South liquor lobby to the co-accused Vijay Nair” who was closely associated with AAP. “Some specific oral as well as documentary evidence to this effect is stated to have surfaced during investigations conducted so far to substantiate the above allegations” the court observed while granting remand and also noted “the allegations of destruction of some evidence” that needs to be probed into.


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