Several senior AAP leaders were on Sunday "detained" by the Delhi Police while they were staging a sit-in to protest against the summoning of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the CBI in connection with the excise policy case.
The detainees included Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Atishi, Kailash Gahlot, Adil Ahmad Khan, Pankaj Gupta and some ministers in the Punjab government. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who also joined the sit-in on Archbishop Road, had left the spot before the AAP leaders' detention.
Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj claimed, "The police have arrested all ministers and members. We were peacefully sitting here but the police have illegally arrested all of us." "The Delhi Police has arrested us for sitting peacefully and is taking us to some unknown place... what kind of dictatorship is this?" Chadha tweeted in Hindi.
The CBI summoned Kejriwal to its office to answer questions of the investigation team as a witness in the excise policy case, according to a notice issued by the agency. Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal's former deputy in the Delhi government, was arrested last month in the case. The AAP has called the case a conspiracy against its leaders.
CBI officials have said they asked Kejriwal to appear on a Sunday as the offices in the area remain closed. The agency adopted the same strategy when Sisodia was called to the agency headquarters, where he was grilled for eight hours before being taken into custody.
The allegations relate to the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22. The CBI is probing into allegations of bribes paid by liquor traders to get licences. The AAP has strongly refuted these charges but its government later scrapped the policy.
It was further alleged that irregularities, including modifications in the excise policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, the extension of L-1 licence without approval, etc were committed, a CBI spokesperson said after the FIR was filed on August 17, 2022. The CBI filed its charge sheet against seven accused on November 25. It alleged in the charge sheet that the excise policy was framed in a manner to promote cartelisation and monopoly at the wholesale level.