A Delhi court has extended the judicial custody of Manish Sisodia, a senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), until May 28 in a money laundering case related to an alleged excise scam. Sisodia was produced before the court on the expiry of his previous judicial custody.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Sisodia asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not be able to impede the work of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He claimed that Modi may attempt to conspire against Kejriwal, but his efforts would ultimately prove futile.
Sisodia, who is the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, was arrested on April 19, 2021, for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case related to the 2017 excise scam. The AAP leader has denied any wrongdoing and stated that the case is politically motivated.
The Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing had filed a first information report (FIR) against Sisodia, his former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, and others in November 2020. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the award of contracts for the operation of liquor warehouses in Delhi.
The FIR alleges that Sisodia and Kumar were involved in the irregularities, which led to a loss of approximately INR 2 billion to the Delhi government. The police claimed that Sisodia had authorized Kumar to bypass rules and award contracts to ineligible firms.
Sisodia’s arrest came amid a bitter political feud between the AAP and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi. The AAP has accused the BJP of targeting its leaders with false charges in an attempt to tarnish their image. The BJP has denied the allegations and stated that the law is taking its course.
The AAP, which came to power in Delhi in 2015, has been at loggerheads with the central government led by the BJP over several issues, including the allocation of funds and the appointment of officials. The party has accused the central government of interfering in the affairs of the Delhi government and stalling its development work.
The AAP has also been critical of the Modi government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and has accused it of mismanaging the crisis. The party has demanded that the central government provide more resources to Delhi to tackle the pandemic and has criticized it for not doing enough.
The arrest of Sisodia has intensified the political tussle between the AAP and the BJP in Delhi. The AAP has called the charges against Sisodia baseless and has accused the BJP of trying to undermine the functioning of the Delhi government. The party has demanded that Sisodia be released immediately and has threatened to launch protests if he is not.
The BJP, on the other hand, has accused the AAP of corruption and misgovernance and has stated that the law should take its course. The party has accused the AAP of trying to shield its leaders from the law and has demanded that Sisodia be held accountable for his actions.
The political drama in Delhi is likely to continue as the AAP and the BJP gear up for the crucial 2022 Delhi Assembly elections. The AAP is seeking to retain power in the city, while the BJP is aiming to stage a comeback after its defeat in the previous election. The arrest of Sisodia has added a new twist to the already charged political atmosphere in the city, and it remains to be seen how it will impact the electoral fortunes of the two parties.