New Delhi: The Anti-Corruption Branch today questioned Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for close to three hours in connection with its probe into an alleged recruitment scam in Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).
Sisodia was summoned by the ACB on October 7 informing him about the questioning.
He arrived around 11 am at the ACB office and his questioning continued for around three hours, said a senior ACB officer. “He was examined today. Details about the questioning cannot be shared since the matter is under investigation,” said ACB chief Mukesh Kumar Meena.
Sisodia was questioned about the letter from his office that had authorised DCW as a body with financial autonomy, said a senior ACB officer, adding he was evasive during the duration of questioning.
Later, Sisodia alleged that the ACB summoning AAP ministers is “part of political vendetta” against them. “I don’t understand why they summoned me. Ever since the AAP government has been formed, ACB has called three ministers in different cases.
“During three-hour questioning, ACB had interrogated me on just three-paragraph clarification on administrative and financial powers to DCW member secretary. The finance department of the government had sent this clarification to DCW on March 1, 2016,” he said.
He added that the clarification mentioned that the women’s panel was formed as per DCW Act, 1994.
“When I asked about the clarification, ACB officials did not have answers to my query,” he said.
Sisodia said they are being targeted since the government has been working for the welfare of Delhi. “If I try to understand the reason behind ACB summoning me, the reason seems very clear. In the last one-and-a-half years, we have done good work which was not executed by previous BJP and Congress governments in the last 20 years. I challenge BJP and Congress to debate on works done by the AAP government,” he said.
Claiming the AAP government has brought “changes” in the capital, he said, “People are happy that they are getting free water and their power bills have been halved. Parents are also happy that private schools have not increased the fees. Patients are getting free medicines. Labourers are also happy that they will get hiked salaries.”
DCW chief Swati Maliwal, who has also been questioned by the ACB earlier, alleged that the agency has challenged the autonomy of the commission in a “mala fide attempt to subvert and subdue” the women’s panel.
“The ACB has challenged the autonomy of the commission in the FIR it has lodged against Maliwal. This is a dangerous as the panel is an autonomous organisation and derives its powers under a statute.
“The autonomy is envisaged for the commission since it is expected to question the Governments and it’s organisations in order to fulfill its mandate of safeguarding interests of women,” DCW said in a statement.
“The Finance and Women and Child department on Commission’s request, clarified that the Commission is administratively and financially autonomous. It is for this clarification Sisodia has been summoned,” it added.