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Kejriwal and Sisodia should get Bharat Ratna for 'new category for corruption', Cong mocks AAP leaders

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New Delhi, Aug 24: The Congress on Tuesday attacked the Aam Aadmi Party over alleged irregularities in excise policy in Delhi, saying Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy should get the Bharat Ratna if there is a new category for corruption.

The Congress alleged that "Kejriwal and company" have traversed the distance from honesty and transparency to corruption in a very short span of time and asked the AAP convenor why he was not sacking his tainted ministers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Anil Chaudhary said that in the first FIR by the CBI, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been recognised as the "number one corrupt" and this is the certificate of AAP's "hardcore honesty".

The Congress has been increasingly targeting AAP after Arvind Kejriwal's party ousted it in Punjab and was also threatening to make inroads in poll-bound Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP and Congress have dominated the political scene till now. The party was routed in the last two assembly polls in Delhi which were swept by the AAP.

AAP leaders were offered Rs 20 crore to join BJP says Sisodia in explosive claimAAP leaders were offered Rs 20 crore to join BJP says Sisodia in explosive claim

Slamming Kejriwal, Chaudhary said the chief minister, who raised questions on the excise policy of his predecessor and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, has returned to her policy and found it to be correct. "Will those who question Sheila Dikshit ji's policies apologise to her today," he asked. Chaudhary said if "a new category is started, which is unlikely, then Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia must get 'Bharat Ratna' in the category of corruption."

He was taking a swipe at Kejriwal's recent remarks that Sisodia deserves the Bharat Ratna for improving the education standard in schools, but is being hounded by the Centre due to political reasons. "When the people of Delhi were struggling for oxygen cylinders and beds in hospitals during the Corona period, Kejriwal was working on liquor policy with the liquor mafia," the Congress' Delhi unit chief alleged.

"What was the deal between the Lieutenant Governor of BJP and the Chief Minister of Delhi that this liquor policy was passed," he asked. Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak said AAP must do a press conference to explain to people whether their liquor policy is right or not. "If it is right, then why did they get scared with the news of a CBI inquiry? Why did they have to take back the policy which they said was beneficial in making Delhi revenue surplus," she said.

If the policy is wrong then why shouldn't inquiry take place against Sisodia, she asked. She also asked that if there is an attempt to break the AAP government, why does it not reveal the phone number and name of the persons involved.

This is serious matter: Kejriwal on AAP's claims about BJP offerThis is serious matter: Kejriwal on AAP's claims about BJP offer

"Why is Arvind Kejriwal not sacking his corrupt ministers," she said. Chaudhary accused AAP of playing the 'New York Times' card and talking about education and health policy when questions are being raised about its liquor policy. He said it was the Congress that had first started the fight against excise policy irregularities. "We have solid proof of this. We first wanted to wake up this government, but when it did not wake up, we had to complain in writing to the police commissioner," Chaudhary said.

He also blamed the BJP for remaining silent when alleged corruption through the Delhi liquor policy was taking place. The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) had conducted raids in the 2021-22 excise policy case on August 19 and covered the residence of Sisodia in Delhi, that of IAS officer and former Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and 19 other locations across seven states and Union Territories. Sisodia holds multiple portfolios in the Delhi government including that of excise and education The Delhi excise policy scheme came under the scanner after Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena last month recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi's Excise Policy 2021-22.

He also suspended 11 excise officials in the matter. The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009 and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials said.

According to officials, the report had shown prima facie violations, including "deliberate and gross procedural lapses", to provide post-tender "undue benefits to liquor licensees" through the policy. It is also alleged that undue financial favours were extended to liquor licensees after the tenders were awarded, causing loss to the exchequer.

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