‘Delhi liquor scam’: What are the charges against Manish Sisodia?

‘Delhi liquor scam’: What are the charges against Manish Sisodia?

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday raided 21 locations in Delhi-NCR, including Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s residence and premises of the then Delhi Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, regarding anomalies and irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi’s liquor policy. Sisodia holds the excise department.

Charges against Manish Sisodia

  • The CBI has registered an FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in formulation and execution of Delhi Excise Policy brought in November last year, officials said
  • Apart from this, there were also “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” to provide post-tender “undue benefits to liquor licensees”,
  • The CBI inquiry was recommended on Delhi Chief Secretary’s report filed in July, showing prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010
  • According to the report submitted to the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena and CM of Delhi, Sisodia allegedly made changes to the excise policy without the approval of the LG, such as allowing a waiver of Rs. 144.36 crores on tendered licence fee on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The report also states that Sisodia gave undue benefits to liquor licenses by revising the rates of foreign liquor and removing the levy of import pass fee of ₹50 per case of beer. According to the Indian Express, this made foreign liquor and beer cheaper for retail, leading to a loss of revenue for the state exchequer.

What led to the CBI raid?

Delhi Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena has recommended a CBI probe into the AAP government’s 2021-2022 Excise Policy over alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses, officials said on 22 July, 2022.

Saxena also directed Delhi’s Chief Secretary to submit a report detailing the “role of officers and civil servants in its illegal formulation, amendments and implementation.”

The new excise policy, on which Sisodia is facing the allegations, is among the several policy changes overseen by him during his stints in the AAP governments of 2013, 2015 and 2020, while holding crucial portfolios.

Officials said that if any changes are made to a policy that has already been implemented, the excise department needs to place them before the cabinet and forward it to LG for final approval. Any changes that are made without the approval of cabinet and LG are illegal and in violation of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 and the Transaction of Business Rules, 1993.

On 30 July, 2022, Sisodia announced that the Delhi government’s new liquor policy will be scrapped entirely and from 1 August, 2022, only government owned liquor vendors will be allowed to sell alcohol in the national capital.

This development comes amidst the probe into the Delhi government’s excise department by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), due to alleged irregularities in its new liquor policy.

The Delhi government’s revised policy, which proposed changes like home delivery of liquor, the opening of shops till 3 am and allowing licensees to offer unlimited discounts, was proposed by the group of ministers in the cabinet on 2 May, 2022.

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