The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday began the second round of questioning with former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who has been jailed since February 26 over alleged irregularities in the Delhi liquor policy. The first round of questioning by ED was conducted on March 7. It lasted for about five hours.
Sisodia is lodged in judicial custody at the Cell No. 1 of Tihar Jail after the CBI arrested him last month in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22, including an alleged Rs 100 crore bribe paid to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders to favour certain liquor businessmen and politicians.
The agency is expected to question him about the alleged change and destruction of cellphones that were in his possession and the policy decisions and the timeline followed by him as the excise minister of Delhi. These charges were made by it in its charge sheets filed before the court.
Meanwhile, K Kavitha, daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who has also been linked in the alleged case, is expected to appear before the ED on March 11.
Earlier, AAP leaders including Sanjay Singh and Saurabh Bhardwaj had alleged a “threat” to Sisodia’s “safety”, claiming he was kept with other inmates in jail and was refused a "vipassana" cell.
“There was a request for Manish Sisodia to be kept in the vipassana cell of the jail and it was approved by the court. Despite court's approval, Sisodia has been kept with other criminals in jail number 1. The Centre must answer why are they doing this,” Bharadwaj had said.
Delhi Prison authorities rejected the AAP's allegations as "unfounded" and informed that the former Delhi minister has been lodged in a ward of Tihar's Central Jail No. 1 where there are a minimum number of inmates and no gangsters.
Sisodia’s arrest comes months after that of former health minister Satyendar Jain, who was held on alleged money laundering charges. Both ministers resigned from their party posts this week.
Senior Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj have been inducted into the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet.
It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers, who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
The policy was later scrapped and the Delhi LG recommended a CBI probe following which the ED booked a case against the same accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).