The agency decided to arrest Sisodia after he allegedly gave evasive replies and didn’t cooperate despite being confronted with evidence, the CBI said.
What makes Manish Sisodia so important?
The agency will produce him in court on Monday and seek his custody for interrogation. Before arriving at the CBI office, Sisodia paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. Invoking Bhagat Singh’s example, he said, “If I have to go to jail over such false allegations, it is a small thing”.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s questioning began at the CBI’s headquarters around 12 noon and he was confronted with around 30-40 questions, officials said.
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“Many contentious provisions were added to the liquor policy which weren’t part of the first draft. Sisodia failed to explain how those provisions were included in the final draft, he mostly replied saying ‘I don’t know’,” said a source. A statement under 164 CrPC by an officer, who worked in excise dept, allegedly revealed the role of Sisodia in tweaking the drafts.
“There was no record of discussion or any files detailing how these provisions were included in the final draft. Forensic examination of seized digital devices reveal that these provisions were received on WhatsApp by an officer. The draft excise policy report was available in the phone of a key accused already arrested in the case,” said another source.
The agency later released a statement. “The deputy CM was issued a notice u/s 41A CrPC C for attending the investigation on February 19. However, he sought time of one week citing his pre-occupation. Accepting his request, we issued another notice for February 26 for answering various questions evaded by him during his examination on October 17, 2022, and further questions relating to his incriminating role based on evidence collected during investigation of the case,” it said.
“However, he gave evasive replies and did not cooperate with the probe despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary. Therefore, he has been arrested. He will be produced before the court,” the CBI added.
Agency sources said the probe had revealed that the profit margin for liquor wholesalers was 5% in earlier policy and the same was also the view of the GoM in their policy draft.
“This margin was raised to 12% on the south lobby’s demand,” the source said, alleging 6% of this 12% was the kickback paid by the south lobby. While a crucial file pertaining to the excise policy was allegedly found missing or destroyed, CBI also found that a top excise official was allegedly pressured into “towing the line”.
“Further, reports of the expert panel on excise policy were completely changed by constituting a GoM in a calculated manner by concealing an earlier note from council of ministers in support of the expert panel,” said another source. Sisodia was confronted with findings — which have also been corroborated in the probe by ED — that he and other accused “destroyed, used or changed” 170 phones to conceal evidence of “kickbacks” worth thousands of crores of rupees in the alleged scam. Sisodia was asked if he used four phones in other person’s name.
He was questioned regarding the statement made by DANICS officer C Arvind, who was also the secretary to Sisodia, that the draft GoM report was given to him in March 2021 after Sisodia called him to the residence of CM Arvind Kejriwal, As per Arvind, Satyendra