Sat, 09 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], February 5 (ANI): Launching a strong attack on the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi over alleged corruption in its excise policy that was later withdrawn, Congress on Saturday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, saying ED chargesheet has "established a kickback of at least Rs 100 crore".

Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that the court has taken cognisance of the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

"ED chargesheet and reports, which have surfaced publicly, clearly indict Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor scam. At least Rs 100-crore kickback has been established. The PMLA court took cognisance of the chargesheet on Thursday and has allowed charges to be framed against all the accused," he said.

The former union minister said the money trail has been mentioned in the chargesheet and alleged that this money was spent by AAP in Goa assembly polls.

"Congress demands immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal along with his ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain. Money trail also has been mentioned in the chargesheet, leading to advertisements in Goa elections and cash payments to volunteers to carry out surveys," he said.

"DANICS officer has claimed that the GOM report for a 12 per cent margin for the wholesalers of liquor trade was handed over to him at the CM residence, where Manish Sisodia and Sateyandar Jain were also present. It is alleged that this report was handed over to him without any discussions. From this 12 per cent margin to the wholesalers, that 6 per cent is alleged to be paid back as a kickback," he added.

Maken said an expert committee was formed by the Kejriwal government to suggest changes in liquor policy and its two major recommendations included revamping of IMFL trade by bringing entire wholesale operations under one government entity and preventing any monopolistic tendencies in the liquor trade.

He said "concessions by the Kejriwal government to liquor traders" have caused huge loss to the exchequer.

The Congress leader alleged that Rs 144.36 crore were waived off from liquor license fees on account of COVID-19 and the margin of profits increased from 5 to 12 per cent.

He said the first quarter of 2022-23, before the new liquor policy was withdrawn by the Kejriwal government, saw a revenue shortfall of Rs 1870 crore though whisky sales were up by 59.6 per cent and wine by 87.25 per cent.

A Delhi court here on Thursday took cognizance of the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Delhi's Excise police case naming several businessmen including Aam Aadmi Party's former communication head Vijay Nair.

Special Judge MK Nagpal on Thursday said this supplementary complaint has also been carefully gone through by the court.

Maken also attacked Kejriwal over the promise of Lokpal.

"In 2014, Kejriwal asked for the dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly over the issue of the Lokpal Bill. Where is that Bill now? The Kejriwal government has ensured that even a weak Lokayukta is non-functional in Delhi. Despite being approved by the LG, annual reports of the Lokayukta have not been tabled in the Legislative Assembly since 2017-18," Maken said.

He said Lokayukta faces "huge constraints of manpower and functionaries" and the important post of Director of Investigation has not been filled.

The Congress leader said since the Kejriwal government came to power, Lokayoukta has flagged various "debilitating constraints" in terms of its "independence, lack of powers, compromised financial autonomy, non-availability of any machinery for conducting investigations" and alleged that these have not been addressed. (ANI)

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