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'Did not blame Manish Sisodia': Arvind Kejriwal tells court in response to CBI charge
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Arvind Kejriwal

'Did not blame Manish Sisodia': Arvind Kejriwal tells court in response to CBI charge

| @@indiablooms | 27 Jun 2024, 02:04 am

New Delhi/IBNS: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who this morning went from anticipating release on bail to being arrested again by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), addressed Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court directly to defend himself over claims that he tried to evade blame for the alleged liquor policy scam.

Kejriwal was first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in March, in connection with charges that he orchestrated the sale of liquor licenses for Rs. 100 crore used to fund the Punjab and Goa election campaigns.

"A false narrative is being spread by CBI sources in the media - that I put the blame of the liquor policy scam on Sisodiaji. I did not make any such statement blaming him or any other person," Kejriwal told the court.

"I had said Sisodiaji is innocent... Aam Aadmi Party is innocent... and I am innocent. But CBI plans to malign us in the media. Please record... CBI sources spread fake news," Kejriwal said.

The Delhi Chief Minister's objections came after the CBI claimed in court he tried to pin the blame specifically for recommending that liquor stores in the city be privatised on his party colleague.

"CBI is defaming me... defaming AAP. I am innocent and Sisodia ji is also innocent," he said.

The significance of his speaking up was added to by the court, which held that the available evidence, including that presented by the prosecution, did not suggest such statements were made.

Kejriwal then continued addressing the court, this time revealing what he told the federal agency last year during the AAP leader's nine-hour interrogation in August when he was called as a witness.

"I told them (the CBI) there were three points. First - increase revenue. Second - reduce crowds to handle law and order. Third - open liquor shops in right proportion (i.e., equal distribution across the city)," he told the Rouse Avenue Court.

Speaking about his communication with Sisodia, the Chief Minister said, "I gave instructions to Manish Sisodia to keep these three things in mind in the policy."

Meanwhile, responding to arguments made by Arvind Kejriwal's lawyers, the CBI told the court it could have acted against the Delhi Chief Minister at any time, "even during elections".

However, the CBI said it chose to act only with the permission of the court.

Kejriwal's lawyers had criticised the agency for acting when it did, pointing out it had done nothing since grilling their client last year. "This case is pending since August. I was called as a witness... I appeared and, for nine hours, I assisted. Not a single notice since then..."

The CBI earlier in the day arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the alleged liquor policy scam inside the Rouse Avenue Court, media reports said.

Kejriwal, who is already under arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case linked to the alleged scam, then withdrew his plea challenging the stay on granting of bail in the Supreme Court.

The senior politician, who heads Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), will file a fresh plea in the Supreme Court.

Kejriwal, who was granted bail by the Rouse Avenue Court, faced a setback after the ED filed a plea challenging his release in the Delhi High Court.

The High Court paused the bail in a setback for Kejriwal, who was arrested by the ED on March 21, 2024.

The ED argued the lower court's grant of bail was "completely flawed". Kejriwal then moved the Supreme Court to overturn the stay order.

Despite acknowledging the High Court action as "unusual", the top court refused to oblige and said it would be improper to intervene as the Delhi HC had reserved its judgement.

In more setback for Kejriwal, who is lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail, stayed his bail accusing the lower court of not granting enough time to the prosecution for argument and not listing the conditions for the bail.

 

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