Minutes after Manish Sisodia’s bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accepted the resignations of two of his ministers, Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, and forwarded it to the Lieutenant Governor. There are reports that two Aam Aadmi Party MLAs, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Atishi, may be made ministers to reduce the workload on other ministers.
Satyendra Jain is in Tihar Jail for the last 9 months, while Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was handling 18 departments. Sisodia held important portfolios like Finance, Planning, Public Works, Labour, Excise, Education, Technical and Higher Education, Vigilance, Tourism, Home, Health, Urban Development, Irrigation and Flood Control, Power, Water and Industry. Satyendar Jain was arrested in May last year in a money laundering case while Sisodia is in CBI custody in connection with the Delhi liquor scam.
In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha asked Sisodia’s lawyer to approach either the trial court or the Delhi High Court for bail.
The Supreme Court bench told Sisodia’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi: ‘It is a case of Prevention of Corruption Act. Can’t you place the same arguments before the Delhi High Court to get relief? You also have the option of going to the Delhi High Court. You go to the High Court, which is bound by our decisions… You can put all these things before the competent court. Otherwise, it will happen that even for consideration of bail petitions, people will come directly to the Supreme Court and it will become the first forum for hearing such cases. Incident happening in Delhi does not mean that you should directly approach the Supreme Court.. You have the option of approaching the lower court as well as the Delhi High Court. We should not interfere in that process.”
Meanwhile, the CBI has indicated that it will seek extension of Sisodia’s five-day custody. Soon after Sisodia’s bail application was rejected in the Supreme Court, the three-page resignation letter of the Deputy CM was released to the media.
In his resignation letter, Sisodia wrote – “I and my God know that all these allegations are false. These allegations are actually nothing more than a conspiracy of cowards and weak, who are scared of the true politics of Arvind Kejriwal. I’m not their target, you [केजरीवाल] are on their target. Because today not only Delhi but the people of the whole country are seeing you as a leader who has a vision for the country and has the ability to bring big changes in people’s lives by implementing it.
Praising Chief Minister Kejriwal, Sisodia wrote in the letter – ‘Arvind Kejriwal has today become a name of hope in the eyes of crores of people who are facing problems like economic crisis, poverty, unemployment, inflation and corruption across the country. Tried that I should leave you (Kejriwal). Intimidated, threatened, lured me. When I did not bow before him, he arrested me and put me in jail. I am not the first person in the world to go to jail for walking the path of truth… All these allegations leveled against me are fake and nothing more than a conspiracy hatched by coward and weak people. These people are scared of Arvind Kejriwal’s politics of truth.
In the letter, Sisodia wrote: “The prayers of lakhs of government school children and their parents are with me. The biggest thing I have is the blessings of the thousands of teachers who revolutionized the education sector in Delhi.” Sisodia ended his letter with these revolutionary lines – “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai, dekhna hai zor How much is there in the arm of the murderer.’
The question now arises whether both Sisodia and Jain had already submitted their resignations to Kejriwal, as their resignations were accepted by the Chief Minister soon after the Supreme Court order. Surprisingly, despite being in jail for the last nine months, Kejriwal did not drop Jain from his cabinet. On the other hand, Sisodia’s resignation was accepted within 48 hours of his arrest. Will Kejriwal now make it an issue of morality and go among the public?
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad was leaving after completing his press conference on Tuesday when he came to know about the acceptance of the resignations of both the ministers. He returned and said that it is a victory of his party workers in Delhi that one minister is in jail and the other is in CBI custody.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh, playing the victim card, said that Sisodia has been punished for reforming Delhi’s education system. Both Sisodia and Jain are no longer ministers, AAP leaders said, but the party stands firmly with them.
On one hand, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Telangana Chief Minister K.K. Chandrasekhar Rao and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray publicly supported the Aam Aadmi Party, terming Sisodia’s arrest as ‘political vendetta’, but Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate questioned when Congress leader Pawan Khera was arrested at the Delhi airport. Arrested then why Kejriwal and his associates were silent.
Whatever the CBI says in Manish Sisodia’s case, whatever verdict the court gives, Kejriwal and other opposition parties will drag Prime Minister Narendra Modi into it. Will connect it with Gautam Adani. They will keep accusing the government of strangling opponents and saving friends. But the big question is why did Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain resign?
Till now, the policy of the Aam Aadmi Party has been that no matter how many allegations are made, the minister may remain in jail, but there was no need to resign. Satyendra Jain has been in jail for nine months, but he was neither asked to resign nor did he resign. In the case of Manish Sisodia also, Kejriwal waited for relief from the Supreme Court and when the decision did not come in his favor, then Manish Sisodia’s already prepared resignation was announced. When Manish resigned, how could Satyendar Jain, who was in jail, continue on his post? He also had to announce it. It is clear that the jailed ministers were left with no option but to resign.
Another trouble for Kejriwal is that after the resignation of these two, the senior ministers left in the cabinet are also in trouble. The sword of CBI investigation is hanging on Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot in the DTC bus purchase case. The CBI has also started probing the Delhi bus scam. The CBI raid took place at Delhi’s Nandnagari depot on Tuesday. If the CBI gets evidence of the scam, then Kailash Gehlot’s troubles will also increase.
Another matter of concern for Kejriwal is that the heat of the liquor scam has now started reaching the Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab. In Punjab too, the excise policy regarding liquor was changed. There too, after changing the policy, it was withdrawn overnight. The online forms released for the new liquor policy have been removed from the website. The allegation is that Punjab’s excise policy was also made on the lines of Delhi. After this, online forms were issued to renew the license, but after the arrest of Manish Sisodia, it was decided to withdraw the online form.
Punjab’s liquor businessmen and opposition leaders were already opposing this new liquor policy. The opposition alleges that the entire draft of the new excise policy of Punjab was finalized at Manish Sisodia’s house in Delhi. The policy was made in such a way that the entire liquor business in Punjab would go into the hands of traders from outside. That is why now the leaders of Akali Dal and BJP are demanding a CBI inquiry into the liquor policy of Punjab.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed that he had sent letters to the ED and the CBI in September last year complaining about the liquor scam in Punjab. Sirsa alleges that the Excise Minister and officers of Punjab used to come to Delhi to formulate the excise policy of the Punjab government and meetings were held at Manish Sisodia’s house. These people made such a policy that only two parties get the wholesale work. In the letter Sirsa had sent to the CBI, 14 people including Raghav Chadha, Manish Sisodia, Vijay Nair, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from SAS Nagar assembly seat in Punjab, Kulwant Singh had been demanded to be named as accused. Sirsa alleges that preparations are being made to hand over the liquor business in Punjab to the companies against whom the cases are going on, the companies which are blacklisted.
The way Manish Sisodia is involved in the liquor scam, if there is action in Punjab as well and the ministers of the Punjab government get caught, then it will be difficult for Kejriwal to answer. Since the Punjab government has withdrawn the online forms issued for liquor contracts and removed them from the website, the suspicion has increased further. This is the reason why now in Punjab also the opposition parties have intensified the attacks on Bhagwant Mann and Arvind Kejriwal. ,Rajat Sharma,
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