The Narendra Modi government is "scared" of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's "growing popularity", the AAP claimed Friday after a CBI raid at Manish Sisodia's residence while the BJP hit back with corruption allegations.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and its Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said the CBI would find nothing but "pencils and geometry boxes" at the home of Sisodia who is also Delhi's education minister.
"When raids were conducted at Arvind Kejriwal's residence earlier, they found four mufflers. During raids at Sisodia's residence, they will get four pencils, notebooks and a geometry box," he said. The BJP was planning to jail the Delhi deputy chief minister, Chadha alleged, adding over 100 fake cases had been registered against AAP leaders but they came clean in courts every time.
Kejriwal said, "Many obstacles will be created in our mission. This is not the first raid on Sisodia; there were raids in the past too. There have been raids on many of our ministers and me too. But nothing came out of them and nothing will come out this time as well."
Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena last month recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi's Excise Policy 2021-22. He suspended 11 excise officials in the matter. Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia had also demanded a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the policy.
The searches by the CBI covered seven states and union territories.
As a CBI team reached Sisodia's residence in the morning, the deputy chief minister took to Twitter to welcome the CBI, saying conspiracies will not break him nor deter his resolve to continue to work for providing good education.
The BJP, on the other hand, launched a scathing attack on the Delhi deputy chief minister, with Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur saying Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio, has become an "excuse minister".
"The issue is of liquor licenses and the corruption in it. The minister concerned is Manish Sisodia. He reversed the excise policy the day the probe was handed over to the CBI. Why was this step taken? Because, there was corruption in the issuance of liquor licenses," Thakur alleged.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta and former Union minister Harsh Vardhan dubbed the Kejriwal government as a "looter government"
However, at a press conference on Friday, Kejriwal hailed Sisodia as the "world's best education minister" after his name was featured on the front page of the New York Times and claimed the "obstacles" like the CBI raids will not deter them from their mission to make India the "number one country".
"The CBI has been asked from above to harass us," he alleged. AAP national spokesperson Sanjay Singh said the alleged irregularities in the formulation of excise policy are just "an excuse" to put the CBI after Sisodia.
"The real issue here is the growing popularity of Arvind Kejriwal and his Delhi model of governance in education and healthcare," he said.
Days after Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain, who gave the Delhi model of mohalla clinic to the world, was jailed by the Enforcement Directorate, the prime minister has put the CBI after Sisodia, the AAP charged.
"Preparations are underway to put Sisodia behind bars as the prime minister is not able to sleep at night due to the growing popularity of Kejriwal and his Delhi model of governance in education and healthcare sectors," Singh charged.
The Delhi BJP targeted the Kejriwal government, alleging it was involved in a liquor "scam" of hundreds of crores of rupees. West Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Verma accused Sisodia of being involved in corruption, and that "two middlemen who used to collect cash from liquor licensees have left the country".
The Kejriwal government raised the commission for wholesale licensees from 2 per cent to 12 per cent. Of this, 6 per cent in cash was collected for the AAP government by several people, two of which left the country as soon as a CBI probe was recommended," Verma alleged at a press conference.
Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba said the party fully welcomes the CBI probe into the "corruption" in Excise Policy 2021-22 of the Kejriwal government."Those (AAP) claiming to be 'kattar imandar' (hardcore honest) are proving to be 'kattar beiman' (hardcore dishonest) party. We would like to ask Sisodia if he was following a policy of honesty and why was this policy withdrawn?" she posed.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said the "relentless misuse" of agencies against political rivals erodes their credibility and gives an opportunity even for the corrupt to get away. "The flip side to relentless misuse of agencies against political rivals is that even legitimate, rightful actions of agencies come under a cloud of suspicion.
"In the process, the corrupt get away, hiding behind the 'misuse' argument and the honest end up paying the price," Khera tweeted.
(With PTI Inputs)