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The liquor scam for which Delhi Dy CM Manish Sisodia has been arrested by CBI: Explained in 10 simple points

While the objective of Delhi's new liquor policy was to end black marketing and mafia raj, the AAP government was soon shrouded in corruption allegations.

On Monday (February 27), a Delhi court remanded Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to 5 days in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody in connection to the liquor policy scam case.

A day earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader appeared for questioning at the CBi office in Delhi and was eventually arrested by the central agency.

At the heart of the controversy is the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-2022, which has been explained in 10 simple points.

  • The liquor policy was first proposed in September 2020 but came into effect only in November 2021.
  • It changed the manner in which alcohol was being sold in the National Capital. Introduced private players in the market and marked the exit of government-owned liquor vendors.
  • Delhi was divided into 32 zones and a total of 27 private vendors were to ply in each zone. Every municipal ward had 2-3 liquor vendors operating in the area. 
  • Proposals such as home delivery of liquor, allowing liquor vendors to offer unlimited discounts, opening of stores till 3 am were also tabled before the Delhi Cabinet.
  • The drastic policy change resulted in a 27% increase in government revenue to ₹8900 crores. At the same time, it marked the complete exit of the Delhi government from the liquor business.
  • While the objective of Excise Policy 2021-2022 was to end black marketing and the liquor mafia, the Delhi government soon came under fire over allegations of corruption.
  • Chief Secretary of Delhi, Naresh Kumar, found irregularities and procedural lapses in the new liquor policy. Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a CBI probe on the recommendation of Naresh Kumar.
  • Manish Sisodia waived off ₹144.36 crores on the license fee, to be paid by the private liquor vendors, under the garb of the Coronavirus pandemic. Incurred loss to the Excise Department and benefitted liquor licensees by waiving the import pass fee of ₹50 per beer case.
  • All these changes were made without the final approval of the Lieutenant Governor and thus considered illegal under the Delhi Excise Rules of 2010 and Transaction of Business Rules of 1993.
  • Thus, the Delhi government made a U-turn on its new excise policy in July 2022. A month later, CBI booked Manish Sisodia, ex-Only Much Louder (OML) CEO Vijay Nair and 13 others in an FIR for irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-2022.

Arvind Kejriwal comes to the defence of Manish Sisodia

Not until long ago, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal was out with all guns blazing against corruption, trying to portray himself as an anti-corruption crusader in this process.

However, when it came to one of his close aides, the Delhi CM deserted his anti-corruption stance and resorted to blaming institutions, questioning the motives of the Centre instead of cooperation with the investigating authorities in unearthing the corruption.

Arvind Kejriwal, who mouthed platitudes over the years about making India corruption free, decided to retract his own rules when it came to Manish Sisodia.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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