Top Delhi Minister Arrested in India Liquor Probe
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s federal investigative agency arrested a top local minister in the capital territory of New Delhi late on Sunday in connection with alleged irregularities in a liquor policy, the most high-profile arrest in the case so far.
Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister in the Delhi government was arrested by India’s federal crime agency, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) late Sunday night and will be produced in a local court on Monday.
Sisodia was arrested in an ongoing investigation in “a case related to alleged irregularities in framing & implementation of the excise policy”, the CBI said in a release.
India’s federal agencies have been probing suspected irregularities in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government’s liquor policy, after a government official issued a report in July last year in which he suggested the policy benefited private liquor retailers by offering them discounts at the cost of the exchequer.
The policy was subsequently withdrawn.
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Sisodia’s party, the Aam Aadmi Party, a staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied any wrongdoing on his behalf and said his arrest is political vendetta from Modi’s government.
“Manish is innocent. His arrest is dirty politics,” Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister and head of the Aam Aadmi Party said in a tweet hours after Sisodia’s arrest.
Sisodia is also the party’s second commander in chief and has helped pushed AAP’s reach to other states as the party seeks to wrest control of key states from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in upcoming elections.
India’s financial crime-fighting agency, the Enforcement Directorate is separately investigating French liquor major Pernod Ricard for allegedly violating the same liquor policy.
(Reporting by Arpan Chaturvedi, Additional reporting by Shivam Patel, Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Michael Perry)
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