16 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh
The CBI had filed a case against alleged corruption in the excise policy for 2021-22. The AAP government subsequently repealed the excise policy.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and five others over alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s ‘Feedback Unit’. According to the FIR filed on Tuesday, a preliminary investigation determined that the unlawful creation and operation of the Feedback Unit resulted in a wrongful loss to the government exchequer of approximately Rs 36 lakh.
According to the investigation, Sisodia and Sukesh Jain, the then Secretary Vigilance, along with RK Sinha, (Retired DIG, CISF), working as Special Advisor to the CM and Joint Director, FBU, GNCTD, and P K Punj, (Retired Jt.
Deputy Director, IB), working as Deputy Director, FBU, GNCTD in violation of rules and regulations and without required approvals, by abusing their official position and with the dishonest intention of using the FBU for purposes other than those for which it was clearly created.
Furthermore, FBU officers RK Sinha, PK Punj, Satish Khetrapal, and Shri Gopal Mohan, Advisor to the Chief Minister, conspired to misappropriate and allow embezzlement of the Secret Service Fund, in addition to using FBU personnel for political intelligence gathering.
Based on the facts and circumstances revealed during the investigation, the CBI’s Competent Authority has ordered that the current investigation be converted into a Regular Case on charges of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, forgery for the purpose of cheating, using a forged document as genuine, falsification of accounts, and criminal misconduct by a public servant.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia is currently detained by the ED in connection with the same excise policy case. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) while in judicial custody at Tihar Jail.
The CBI arrested Sisodia in the liquor policy case on February 26 and sentenced him to 14 days in judicial custody on March 6. He was arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the National Capital Territory of Delhi’s excise policy (GNCTD).
The Rouse Avenue court in Delhi placed him in judicial custody until March 20.
Earlier, the ED made another arrest in the case, taking Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai into custody.
In the case of the spirit, the probe agency has also questioned Bharatiya Rashtriya Samiti (BRS) MLC and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter, K Kavitha. The excise policy was approved by the Delhi Cabinet led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the midst of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
According to the Delhi government, the policy was developed to maximise revenue generation, eliminate the sale of spurious spirits or non-duty-paid spirits in Delhi, and improve user experience. The CBI had filed a case against alleged corruption in the excise policy for 2021-22. The AAP government subsequently repealed the excise policy.
Sisodia was one of 15 people arrested in an FIR filed by the CBI. In the case, excise officials, spirits company executives, dealers, some unknown public servants, and private individuals were arrested. It was claimed that irregularities were committed, such as changes to the Excise Policy, and undue favours were extended to licence holders, such as a waiver or reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 licence without approval, and so on.