The allegations in the Delhi excise policy case are serious and must be probed, the Congress said on Monday, as a court sent former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to judicial custody till March 20.
Asserting that its stand on the “misuse” of central agencies against opposition leaders is clear, the party also condemned the CBI “raid” at the residence of former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi.
Earlier in the day, a court sent Mr Sisodia to judicial custody till March 20 in the Delhi excise policy case after the CBI said it did not require the custody of the senior AAP leader for now.
The CBI had arrested Mr Sisodia last week in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22.
Asked why the Congress was “confused” about its stance on the issue, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “We are not at all confused, our stand is clear. We condemn the CBI raid at Rabri Devi’s residence… it is no coincidence that Enforcement Directorate cases have increased four times since 2014 and 95 per cent cases are against opposition leaders.”
A CBI team visited Rabri Devi’s residence in Patna for questioning her in connection with the land-for-jobs scam on Monday. The team reached Rabri Devi’s 10, Circular Road residence at around 10:30 AM and spent five hours inside.
The CBI said that no search or raid took place at Rabri Devi’s residence.
“Our stand… is clear that the agencies are misused to target the Opposition. But… it is the truth that the Delhi liquor policy was being formulated at a time Delhi was gasping for breath during the pandemic. If this policy would not have been withdrawn, there would have been a liquor store under every house in complete disregard of women’s security,” Ms Shrinate said at a press conference.
“So how will questions not arise? Questions will also be raised because when these agencies act against other opposition leaders, be it our leaders, those in Bihar or Maharashtra, the Aam Aadmi Party does not utter a word,” she said.
The AAP has to decide whether it is the BJP’s “B-team” or with the Opposition, and if it is with the Opposition, it should stand by other parties on all issues, the Congress leader said.
When the entire Opposition was supporting the Congress when a “conspiracy” against its leaders was being hatched by the ED, why did the AAP not join, she asked.
“The biggest hypocrisy is on the part of the BJP. You had seven MPs and eight MLAs, you had many councillors, but when the liquor policy was being formulated everyone was a silent spectator. Look at the list of beneficiaries of AAP’s policy, the majority were BJP donors,” Ms Shrinate alleged.
“Our stand is clear, the allegations (in the excise policy case) are very serious, we are the original complainant, and they should be probed. But in the same breath, we would say that these agencies are used against the Opposition in most of the cases,” she said.
Recently, nine opposition leaders, including Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and K Chandrashekar Rao, wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging “blatant misuse” of central agencies against members of the Opposition.
The other signatories to the letter are Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Farooq Abdullah (Jammu & Kashmir National Conference), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena UBT) and Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party).
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