CBI files first charge sheet in Delhi excise scam case; Manish Sisodia not named, AAP says 'Satyamev Jayate'
New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) The CBI on Friday filed its first charge sheet in the Delhi excise policy scam case against seven accused while Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was named in the agency's FIR, does not figure in the document.
Officials said investigators have kept the probe open into the alleged role of Sisodia, a senior AAP leader, and others named in the First Information Report(FIR). Arrested businessmen Vijay Nair and Abhishek Boinpally were among the seven accused named in the charge sheet.
"Further investigation is continuing to investigate the role of accused named in the FIR and other persons on various allegations including conspiracies with other licensees, money trails, cartelization and larger conspiracies in the formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy," the CBI spokesperson said in a statement.
The charge sheet was filed before a special Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) judge M K Nagpal who will take up the matter for consideration on November 30.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said attempts were made to frame Sisodia in the "fake" excise policy scam case even as the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) hailed the development as 'Satyamev Jayate' (Truth alone triumphs).
Sisodia demanded that Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena and Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar be sacked, alleging that he has been a victim of their "witch hunt".
The AAP also asked the BJP to tender an apology to Delhiites and the countrymen for "blatantly lying about the issue" and called Saxena and Kumar the "masterminds" behind the "conspiracy" against Delhi government.
"Manish's name is not in the CBI charge sheet. The whole case is fake. Nothing was found in the raids. A total of 800 officers found nothing in the probe for four months.
"Manish offered hope of a good future to crores of poor children in the country through a revolution in education. I am sorry that a conspiracy was hatched to defame such a person by implicating him in a false case," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
Besides Nair and Boinpally, those named in the charge sheet are the Managing Director of India Ahead News channel Mootha Gautam, Hyderabad-based liquor businessman and a partner of Boinpally in Robin Distilleries LLP Arun R Pillai, owner of Indospirit Sameer Mahendru and two former officials of the excise department -- Deputy Commissioner Kuldeep Singh and Assistant Commissioner Narender Singh, officials said.
Nair and Boinpally were arrested by the CBI but recently granted bail by a special court. They are still in custody in connection with a Enforcement Directorate(ED) case against them, they said.
The seven accused have been named in the charge sheet under IPC section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the officials added.
The central probe agency has got an alleged "close associate" of Sisodia -- Dinesh Arora -- to turn approver in the case, they said.
Arora recorded his statement under section 164 of CrPC before the magistrate and was granted a pardon by a special court for helping in the investigation.
The CBI, after registering a case against 15 people in August, had carried out searches at various places.
It is alleged the Delhi government's policy to grant licenses to liquor traders was influenced in favour of certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
"It was further alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licencees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc. It was also alleged that illegal gains on count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts," the CBI spokesperson said.
Besides Sisodia, who holds the excise portfolio in the Delhi government, the CBI had named the then excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, the then deputy excise commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari, assistant excise commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar, nine businessmen and two companies as accused in the FIR filed on August 17.
In its FIR, the agency has alleged that Sisodia and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions pertaining to the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with "an intention to extend undue favours to the licensees post tender".
The agency has alleged Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited in Gurugram, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey are "close associates" of Sisodia and were "actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees" for the accused public servants. PTI ABS UK GJS SLB BUN GSN GSN GSN