A lookout notice has been issued against Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 12 other people named in a First Information Report filed by the CBI on liquor policy violations, restricting them from travelling abroad, officials said today.
The CBI had carried out searches at the residence of Manish Sisodia, who also handles the Excise Department, and 31 other locations across seven states on Friday over allegations of corruption in the liquor policy.
Mr Sisodia is number one on a list of 15 accused named in the CBI’s FIR. The offences listed in the 11-page document are corruption, criminal conspiracy and falsification of accounts.
As the news of the lookout notice emerged, Mr Sisodia targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a fresh tweet, saying, “all your raids have failed, nothing was found. Now, you have issued a lookout notice against me. What is this gimmick Modi ji? I am right here in Delhi, please tell me where should I come.”
आपकी सारी रेड फैल हो गयी, कुछ नहीं मिला, एक पैसे की हेरा फेरी नहीं मिली, अब आपने लुक आउट नोटिस जारी किया है कि मनीष सिसोदिया मिल नहीं रहा। ये क्या नौटंकी है मोदी जी?
मैं खुलेआम दिल्ली में घूम रहा हूँ, बताइए कहाँ आना है? आपको मैं मिल नहीं रहा?
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) August 21, 2022
On Saturday, Mr Sisodia alleged that the BJP-ruled central government and the Prime Minister were “misusing the central agencies against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) because its work in the education and health sector is being discussed globally.
He alleged that the CBI officials were instructed by the “high command” to raid his home.
Mr Sisodia said the centre wanted to stop Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the AAP chief, because they see him as the main challenger to PM Modi in the upcoming general election in 2024.
“The 2024 election will be a battle between the AAP and the BJP,” he said.
Mr Sisodia, Mr Kejriwal and other party leaders have claimed that the centre was furious over the front-page shout-out to the Delhi education model in the New York Times on Thursday.
He denied any wrongdoing and said the Excise Policy was implemented with complete transparency. The minister also said that he will most likely be arrested in the coming days, but that won’t deter his party from doing the good work.
The probe agency alleges that liquor companies and middlemen were “actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation” of the excise policy.
The Lieutenant Governor had recommended the CBI probe last month, accusing AAP of bringing the Excise Policy “with the sole aim” of benefiting private liquor barons for financial benefits to “individuals at the highest echelons of the government leading up to Manish Sisodia”.
The policy was rolled back by Mr Sisodia in July after a probe was started initially by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing.