New Delhi: The CBI raid at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence in the excise policy case on Friday drew varied reactions from opposition parties with Congress leaders speaking of “misuse of central agencies” but supporting the action by the probe agency while Trinamool Congress and CPI-M slamming the government.
Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray also attacked the government.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha said “AAP chooses eerie silence” when raids are conducted on Opposition leaders. He said nobody will benefit from “this isolated thinking or from such one-sided thinking”.
BJP leaders attacked the AAP government over “liquor corruption”. AAP leaders slammed the government with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stating that the central probe agency “will find nothing”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation conducted searches at the residence of Sisodia and several other locations in different states in connection with the alleged scam in the recently withdrawn excise policy of the Aam Aadmi Party government.
CBI said searches are being conducted today at 31 locations including in Delhi, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bengaluru which, so far, have led to the recovery of incriminating documents, articles and digital records. It said investigations are underway.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said 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,” he said in a tweet.
Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said he is surprised that the raids did not take place earlier.
“It is not surprising. We have been hearing about what has been happening in the Delhi Government for the last 7-8 years. It is surprising that the CBI raids didn’t happen earlier. Be it liquor case, construction of rooms in schools, teachers recruitment, the civil defence recruitment case or the case of the contracts wherever you see, there should’ve been not one but 10 CBI raids,” Dikshit told ANI.
Party leader Alka Lamba also attacked the AAP government.
“If their policy was right, why they had they started the prior one by Sheila Dixit when she was CM of Delhi? AAP always criticises her tenure and now they are following her policies,” she said in a tweet.
CPI-M’s Brinda Karat said the BJP-led government is targeting the Opposition political parties with the help of central agencies.
“I strongly condemn the CBI raid. Manish Sisodia is the Deputy CM of Delhi that’s why he is being targeted. Had he been in RSS or BJP, and bowed before them, he would have got clean-chit in everything. Everything is just politics. This is happening throughout the country,” Karat told ANI.
She alleged that the BJP-led Central government wants to expand its power across the country by targeting opposition parties with raids.
“The raids have got nothing to do with corruption. They just want to expand their power by targeting the opposition,” she said.
Trinamool Congress leader Jay Prakash Majumdar slammed the BJP-led Central government over CBI raid at Sisodia’s residence saying “it is another attempt to divert the democratic process in the country”.
He accused the government of misusing central agencies.
“It is another attempt to divert the democratic process in the country. BJP is afraid after the ‘Bihar syndrome’ that it may not be able to cross 220 seats in the 2024 elections. That’s why BJP is trying to use central agencies to gain power, just as they did in Maharashtra. BJP-RSS do not want a multi-party system in the country,” Majumdar said.
Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction leader Anand Dubey said the CBI raid is nothing new as the BJP has pledged to conduct raids on Opposition parties. “They started with Maharashtra, then they went to other states.”
“BJP didn’t like the way the AAP was expanding in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and campaigning for the upcoming election. The BJP has decided to misuse the central agencies. In Maharashtra, many MLAs have ED cases against them. But they are with BJP and there is no raid or arrest against them. Therefore, it’s like either you work with BJP or get ED and CBI raids against you.”
Manoj Jha, MP, said Opposition leaders have to get united to give a message to the Centre to “fight the political battles politically”.
“Institutions like CBI and ED have lost their character. Their direction is decided, we all know where it comes from. When raids are conducted on Opposition leaders, AAP chooses eerie silence. We are speaking for you, aren’t we? Nobody will benefit from this isolated thinking or from such one-sided thinking.”
Jha further said that the Opposition leaders have to get united to give a message to the Centre to “fight the political battles politically”.
“We (Opposition parties) all have to give a message to fight political battles politically, which the Central government does not want to do. Whenever there are such actions against any Opposition leader, we have to speak for each other. We have seen a pattern.”
“When a leader is raided and joins the BJP, there is no more buzz about the cases. This is a blot on the rule of law. The predictability of the central agencies is a matter of concern,” Jha said.
Sisodia was among 15 persons booked in the FIR filed by CBI. Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers along with unknown public servants and private persons have also been booked in the case.
Former Congress leader Kapil Sibal targeted the government over the raids and said CBI and ED were its “long arms”.
“CBI , ED – the long arms of Government Now that Kejriwal is on the rise Time for BJP to destabilise So target Satyendra Jain Now Sidodia,” he said.
As CBI officials arrived at his residence this morning, Sisodia said AAP government is honest and referred to its work in the field of education.
“CBI has arrived. We are honest, building a future for lakhs of children. Unfortunate that in this country, whoever does good work is hassled just like this, that is why our country is still not number-1.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted his support for Sisodia saying that nothing will come out of this raid and that many such happened in past. “I welcome CBI. We will cooperate fully. There have been many such probes, and raids in past. Nothing came out. Nothing will come out this time too,” Kejriwal said.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh stressed that the raids on Delhi’s Deputy CM were an attempt to stop the “revolutionary work done in the education and health sector” by the Kejriwal-led Delhi government.
“Manish Sisodia was on the front page of America’s biggest newspaper New York Times. Everyone throughout the whole country is happy about it but not the BJP. He has done some extraordinary work when it comes to the health sector, be it Mohalla clinics or be it the education sector, the AAP leadership has revolutionised all of it. Now these CBI raids are nothing but an attempt to stop all of this,” he told the media.
“The developments prove that the next Lok Sabha election in 2024 will be AAP versus BJP, it will be Modi versus Kejriwal. We will fight. I am saying it again that you cannot stop Kejriwal, or our education or health model. You may arrest our health minister or education minister, but no work of Delhi will be stopped,” he added.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said these were not the first raids on AAP leaders.
“But the question is what do these agencies recover? They should tell people if anything was ever recovered anywhere,” he said.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur hit out at Kejriwal and Sisodia over alleged “liquor corruption”.
“No matter how hard a corrupt person tries to prove himself innocent, he will still remain corrupt. This is not the first case of corruption by AAP. There has been huge corruption in the liquor stores in Delhi,” Thakur said.
The Union Minister alleged that Delhi’s liquor policy was withdrawn on the same day a CBI investigation was ordered into it. “If there was no scam in the liquor policy, why was it withdrawn?” Thakur asked.
The Union Minister also alleged that Kerjriwal was shielding the corrupt. “Even when Satyendra Jain went to jail for corruption, he did not sack him and then he (Jain) claimed that he lost his memory.
“The Excise Minister has become Excuse Minister but I hope that his memory should not be lost,” Thakur said. Delhi Health Minister Jain is currently in judicial custody after being arrested in connection with a money laundering case. (ANI)