Kejriwal claims Sisodia may soon be arrested, Anna Hazare being 'used' to target his govt

Arvind Kejriwal (right) and Manish Sisodia (left). Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The AAP-BJP political slugfest intensified Tuesday with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claiming Anna Hazare is being "used" to target his government and expressing apprehension that his deputy Manish Sisodia may soon be arrested by CBI "under political pressure" despite "informally given a clean chit".

The assembly's special session was washed out with both the parties forcing repeated adjournments, trading corruption charges against each other.

Sisodia, whose bank locker was searched by the CBI in Ghaziabad's Vasundhara earlier in the day, hit out at BJP national president JP Nadda, saying it was a "Bacchachor party" while referring to the arrest of a BJP corporator in an alleged child stolen case in Mathura.

Speaking in the assembly, he said he has answered all the questions of BJP and now Nadda should tell when will the CBI probe "imposition of GST on food items like milk and curd, source of money for BJP's Operation Lotus, and Rs 1,400 crore money laundering by Delhi LG VK Saxena during demonetisation".

Hitting back at the AAP, the BJP alleged that 'sharab' (liquor policy) and 'shiksha' (education) "scams" have become the "twin towers of corruption" in the city and the Kejriwal dispensation was gradually building more floors.

The party alleged that the Delhi government escalated the cost of building classrooms multiple times and projected several school toilets as classrooms to justify the "bloated" bills.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Shahzad Poonawalla claimed the AAP government was following a 'reverse Robinhood' model wherein money meant for the poor was taken away to fill the coffers of the liquor mafia.

Not sure about Bharat Ratna, but he will get a 'Bhrashtachar Ratna', Poonawalla mocked about Sisodia.

At an event here, Kejriwal said his deputy has been "informally given a clean chit by the CBI but will be arrested in a week or 10 days under political pressure".

Talking to reporters after a team of the CBI went through his bank locker for about two hours, Sisodia claimed the probe agency "found nothing".

However, officials said the agency probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi government's Excise Policy 2021-22 is still continuing and the roles of those accused are being examined.

"I am happy I got a clean chit from the CBI in searches today. They have found nothing (incriminating) from searches of my locker or residence," Sisodia said.

He is among the 15 people and entities named in an FIR registered by the agency in the matter.

Meanwhile, activist Hazare wrote a letter to Kejriwal, slamming his government's new excise policy and said it seems the chief minister has "sunk in the addiction of power".

Hazare also said it seems the new policy will encourage liquor sale and consumption and spur corruption. In the letter, the activist reminded his former associate Kejriwal about the latter's book "Swaraj" in which he favoured a liquor ban.

"You (Kejriwal) wrote several idealistic things in the book. Everyone had hopes from you but it seems that after becoming the chief minister, you forgot that ideology and that is why the Delhi government came up with a new liquor policy," he said.

It seems with the new policy, liquor sales and consumption will get encouraged and liquor shops could be opened in everywhere, Hazare said.

Hours after the letter, Kejriwal responded, alleging that the BJP is "using" the activist since the CBI found nothing in the probe involving Sisodia.

Kejriwal said the BJP termed him a "terrorist" during the Punjab assembly elections and "when no one believed them they brought in Kumar Viswas".

"Now they are using Anna Hazare to target my government," he claimed.

The special session of assembly was interrupted on the second straight day with four adjournments forced by ruling AAP and opposition BJP MLAs who stormed to the well of the House raising slogans and showing placards.

While the AAP MLAs demanded removal of Saxena from the post of Delhi LG, the BJP legislators sought the sacking of Sisodia over alleged liquor scam.

Speaking in the assembly, Sisodia said false news was planted that property papers were found from his locker during the CBI search.

"We have answered all questions of the Opposition. We can't answer lies being thrown by them. Only items worth Rs 70,000-Rs 80,000 including 'jhunjuna' (a toy) of my son was found in the locker by CBI," Sisodia said in the House amid uproar by opposition MLAs.

BJP MLAs said they would continue their overnight protest at the Delhi assembly for the second consecutive day to demand the sacking of AAP ministers over alleged corruption charges.

The BJP MLAs were marshalled out of the House for the third day amid multiple adjournments and sloganeering by the leaders of both the ruling AAP and BJP.

Later in the day, Delhi BJP leaders and supporters protested near Kejriwal's residence in the Civil Lines area here over alleged malpractices in the Excise Policy 2021-2022.

A senior police officer said, "Around 300 protesters under the leadership of Ramvir Singh Bidhuri protested near Chandgiram Akhara. They were later dispersed from the area peacefully and no one was detained." PTI

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