AAP Protests, Around 100 Detained Amid Manish Sisodia Questioning By CBI

Manish Sisodia said: “They want to stop me from going to Gujarat to campaign.”

New Delhi:

Several AAP leaders, including MP Sanjay Singh, were arrested today after protesting massively at the CBI’s questioning of Manish Sisodia in the alcohol policy case. Around 100 executives and workers have been arrested outside the CBI offices and will be released soon, a Delhi Police official said.

Dramatic images showed the leaders being pushed onto a bus by police. Several women workers who were taken to the bus claimed that the police “behaved badly” towards them.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh was arrested along with other protesters or unlawfully protesting outside the CGO complex, where large gatherings are banned, a senior police official said.

Earlier in the day, Delhi’s Deputy Prime Minister predicted his arrest as part of what he called a “plot” by the BJP to prevent him from campaigning for the upcoming Gujarat elections. On the way to the CBI office, he also did a road show in an open-top SUV, making many stops including at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial site, Raj Ghat, and speaking to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers.

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Mr Sisodia, 50, left home after a “tilak“Ritual accompanied by AAP leaders such as party MP Sanjay Singh and MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj. He also shared a video of his mother blessing him.

The CBI has prepared a list of questions and will ask them in “phases,” sources say. The evidence found so far and testimonies from other accused of “alcohol fraud” will be presented to the Deputy Prime Minister, it said.

“They searched my house and nothing came up. They went to my village to find something against him, but they didn’t find anything. Now they plan to arrest me to prevent me from campaigning in Gujarat. I’m not afraid of CBI, ED (Enforcement Directorate) or going to jail,” he said, addressing party officials along the way.

“Even Bhagat Singh had to go to jail for the country,” he explained.

The BJP criticized the roadshow, saying it looks like the Aam Aadmi party has won the World Corruption Championship.

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“The way Manish Sisodia chanted slogans in an open-topped car with his supporters today in the streets seems like the Aam Aadmi party has won the World Corruption Cup,” said BJP spokesman Sambit Patra.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal backed his deputy, claiming the case against him was “completely wrong”. He also tweeted a cartoon depicting Mr. Sisodia in a heroic avatar. The picture shows him holding a sign called ‘Delhi Education Model’ while helping a girl study while arrows called ED and CBI rain down on him.

The AAP chief claimed Manish Sisodia “will remain in prison pending the Gurajal election results”. “Gujarat results will be released on December 8th. These people will keep Manish in prison until then,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.

The dates for the assembly elections in Gujarat have not yet been announced by the Electoral Commission.

Hours before his questioning, Mr Sisodia attacked the BJP in a series of tweets. “The BJP is scared because they know they are losing Gujarat… Their aim is to stop me from going to Gujarat,” he tweeted.

Large gatherings were banned around his home to prevent AAP employees from congregating there, and a heavy police contingent was seen at the scene.

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Mr Kejriwal, Mr Sisodia and others in his party claim that the BJP is targeting them for their campaign in Gujarat, where AAP has challenged the ruling party.

The CBI had filed a case against Mr Sisodia and 14 others in different sections in a Delhi court in August, listing charges including criminal conspiracy and corruption. The CBI is investigating whether the AAP government’s liquor policy has helped liquor cartels.

The alcohol policy, in place since November 17 last year, was scrapped by the Arvind Kejriwal government in July after a CBI investigation was carried out on the recommendation of Delhi’s Deputy Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

The center alleges that the AAP government broke rules when it implemented policies that handed sales of spirits to private actors and closed government-run outlets. Mr Sisodia said the policy was designed to tackle corruption and tackle the powerful alcohol mafia.


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