New Delhi [India] : Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia allegedly asked for copies of documents related to the formation of Delhi excise policy 2021-22 from the Excise commissioner and other related departments on October 30, said official sources on Thursday.
“Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister has desired the photocopies and scanned copy (in a Pen Drive) of files and documents related to the formation of Excise Policy 2021-22 and related tender documents. It is, therefore, requested to kindly provide the above documents immediately,” a document signed by MK Nikhil, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Deputy CM reads.
The document was provided by official sources.
Official sources alleged that, Sisodia is misusing his constitutional position even as he is an accused in the alleged Rs 144.36 crore Liquor scam.
“Despite being the Kingpin and main accused, mentioned at No. 1 in the ongoing investigations in the Liquor Scam by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), EOW and Income Tax, Manish Sisodia tried to blatantly misuse his official position to obtain papers connected with the Scam, from the Excise Department. In doing so, he misused his powers as a Minister, provided through Transaction of Business Rules, 1993 of GNCTD, to call for papers,” the sources said.
Sisodia, through a tweet, hit back saying that the BJP-led government at the Centre should come clean on the allegations of cash-for-MLA scam.
“Instead of diverting from the issues tell what they have found in the investigation so far? Nothing. Now tell people who went to buy MLA in Telangana were caught red-handed with 100 crores. Modi ji, from whom did he took that hundred crore? Sisodia said.
The Delhi deputy CM’s retort came after official sources alleged that he has directed his OSD to write to the Excise Commissioner and ask for “photocopies and scanned copy (in a pen drive) of files and documents related to the formation of Excise Policy 2021-22 and related tender documents immediately”.
“This note sent to the Excise Commissioner on October 30, 2022, demanded for the very files, papers and documents that are under scrutiny and investigation by Agencies. The Excise Department, which had handed over the files to CBI and their copies to ED for the ongoing investigations sought the permission of Finance Department, which in turn asked the Law Department of GNCTD, if the papers could be given to Sisodia,” it said.
The Law Department, categorically said that “Since the matter is under investigation by various agencies like ED, CBI, EOW, Income Tax and name of the concerned Minister (Sisodia) is reflected as accused No. 1, the normal procedural of Transaction of Business of the GNCTD Rules (which empower a minister to call for papers from any department for his information), would not be applicable in this case”. The Law Department also opined that “Excise Department may seek the permission of the concerned investigating agency, which has taken the original files, to supply the record/copies ….”.
Among the accused in the case are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
Other accused are Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; director of Buddy Retail Amit Arora, and Dinesh Arora; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey.
The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.
An alleged, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19.
This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, said the FIR, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
In August, CBI registered a case in an excise policy scam and issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against eight private persons named as accused in the case.
A total of nine private persons have been named in the FIR. Except for Manoj Rai, ex-vice president of Pernod Ricard, LOC has been issued against all private persons. (ANI)