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  4. Delhi liquorgate: CBI quizzes Arvind Kejriwal for nine hours, asks 56 questions | Key Points

Delhi liquorgate: CBI quizzes Arvind Kejriwal for nine hours, asks 56 questions | Key Points

Delhi liquorgate: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday appeared before CBI for questioning in the Delhi Excise Policy scam case. The AAP chief was questioned for nearly nine hours at the agency's headquarter.

Edited By: Bhagya Luxmi @reportersfact New Delhi Updated on: April 17, 2023 6:11 IST
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Image Source : PTI Delhi liquorgate: CBI questions Arvind Kejriwal for nine hours | What we know so far

Delhi liquorgate: It was a major blow to the Delhi government when probing agency CBI summoned CM Arvind Kejriwal for questioning in an excise policy case. AAP called it a "misuse" of powers while taking a jibe at the Centre. Kejriwal also accused the agency of acting at the behest of the BJP. Delhi CM Kejriwal was questioned for nearly nine hours in connection with the excise policy scam case. 

After leaving the CBI headquarter, CM Arvind Kejriwal while addressing the people claimed that he was asked 56 questions and he answered them all. He also expressed his gratitude towards CBI for its hospitality. "Want to thank CBI officials for hospitality, they asked questions in a friendly, harmonious manner," said Kejriwal. Further, he took a jibe at the Centre and said "liquor scam case is fake and a result of dirty politics."

Arvind Kejriwal expressed gratitude towards CBI

"I want to say that the entire excise policy case is false. They do not have any evidence that the AAP is wrong. It's a result of dirty politics," he told reporters. He was speaking to the media at his residence after around nine hours of questioning by the probe agency. Thanking the CBI officials for their "hospitality", Kejriwal said, "They asked me questions in a friendly and harmonious manner. I answered all the questions asked by them." "The CBI asked around 56 questions regarding the excise policy, including when and why the policy was started," he added.

Kejriwal was questioned for nearly nine hours 

The AAP chief, who arrived at the heavily fortified agency headquarters at around 11 am in his official black SUV, was taken to the first-floor office of the Anti Corruption Branch where he was quizzed by the investigation team, they said. Kejriwal waved to the waiting mediapersons as he left the building at around 8.30 pm after nearly nine hours of questioning.

ALSO READ | Delhi Excise Policy Scam: CM Arvind Kejriwal leaves CBI office after nine hours of questioning

The chief minister had a lunch break during the day, they said. AAP leader Manish Sisodia was arrested on February 26 after nearly eight hours of questioning in the case with officials saying his answers were not satisfactory. He later quit as deputy chief minister of Delhi.

Senior officials of the agency remained present in the office on Sunday to keep an eye on the development, a normal course whenever a VIP comes to the agency, they said. The Aam Aadmi Party held protests in many areas against the CBI's summons to Kejriwal and several top leaders were detained by police.

What happened earlier today? 

The agency had summoned Kejriwal on Friday last seeking his appearance as a witness before the investigation team. In a video message this morning, the Aam Aadmi Party chief, who received solidarity messages from several opposition leaders after being summoned by the agency, claimed that the BJP might have ordered the CBI to arrest him. Kejriwal visited Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Raj Ghat this morning and was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and some cabinet colleagues to the CBI office.

Kejriwal's five-minute video 

"I have been summoned by CBI today and I will give all the answers with honesty. These people are very powerful. They can send anyone to jail, it does not matter if that person has committed any crime or not," Kejriwal said in his five-minute video message on Twitter before heading to the CBI office. "Since yesterday, all of their leaders are screaming at top of their voices that Kejriwal will be arrested and I think BJP has instructed CBI also that Kejriwal should be arrested. If BJP has given an order, then who is CBI? CBI is going to arrest me," he said.

BJP called Kejriwal the "kingpin" 

The BJP, which has alleged that Kejriwal was the "kingpin", said it was not the time for rhetoric but accountability and demanded his resignation. BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said on Sunday that investigation agencies such as CBI and ED work on the basis of facts, not emotions.

Questioning with Delhi CM 

Officials said the CBI asked the chief minister about the policy formulation process, especially the "untraceable" file, which was earlier slated to be put before the Council of Ministers. They said the file containing opinions of the expert committee and public and legal opinions on it was not kept before the council and remains untraceable. Kejriwal was also asked if he was involved in the formulation of the policy before it was approved, they said. The agency also quizzed Kejriwal on the statements of other accused, where they have indicated the manner in which policy was allegedly influenced to favour some liquor businessmen and the South liquor lobby.

It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP. The policy was later scrapped. 

AAP leaders were detained 

While he was being questioned, several senior AAP leaders were "detained" by the Delhi Police during a sit-in at Archbishop Road against his summoning. The detainees included Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha, Delhi ministers Saurabh Bharadwaj, Atishi and Kailash Gahlot, AAP spokesperson Adil Ahmad Khan, AAP general secretary Pankaj Gupta and some ministers in the Punjab government.

"Around 1,500 people have been detained or arrested by police across Delhi for staging protests. Thirty-two Delhi MLAs and 70 councillors have been arrested in the city and 20 Punjab AAP MLAs have been arrested at the Delhi border," AAP Delhi convener Gopal Rai claimed at a press conference.

AAP called for an "emergency meeting" 

Rai also chaired an "emergency meeting" of its office-bearers to decide the party's next course of action. The office bearers, district president, national secretaries and other leaders of the party were asked to join the meeting.

BJP leaders staged protest against Kejriwal and his party 

BJP leaders and workers held a protest at Raj Ghat demanding Kejriwal's resignation. "When Kejriwal gets trapped, he remembers Mahatma Gandhi, although he has ordered for removing Gandhi's portrait from offices of his government," Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva charged.

AAP leaders from Punjab supported Kejriwal 

Several AAP leaders, including Punjab ministers and MLAs, alleged they were stopped from entering Delhi. The ruling party in Punjab claimed that ministers Bram Shanker Jimpa, Balbir Singh and Harjot Singh Bains, and MLAs Dinesh Chadha and Kuljit Randhawa were among those stopped at the Singhu border.

Traffic snarls were witnessed 

As AAP workers held protests against the summoning of Chief Minister Kejriwal, traffic snarls were reported in many parts of the national capital.

Protests were reported from other states also. AAP workers tried to gherao the CBI office in Jaipur but the police thwarted their attempt. Later, the party workers blocked the Tonk Road at the Narayan Singh Circle and raised slogans against the central government.

Security was beefed up at CBI headquarter 

Security was stepped up at the CBI headquarters with the Delhi Police putting in place four rings of barricading. Over 1,000 security personnel, including from paramilitary forces, were deployed outside the CBI headquarters and Section 144 of the CrPC had also been imposed in the area to ensure no gathering of more than four persons takes place, they said. Security had also been tightened outside the office of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Rouse Avenue, the officials said. 

(with inputs from PTI)

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