Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Thakur to Kejri: “A corrupt man like you has no right to be in power” 

Union minister Anurag Thakur

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday accused Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of shielding the “corrupt” after Delhi’s lieutenant governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy over alleged violations of procedural lapses.

Union Minister further said that “AAP government has set new records of corruption.”

“You’ve sheltered the corrupt and the way in which you lied on TV yesterday and couldn’t respond to any of BJP’s allegations shows that LG’s recommendation to MHA holds ground. Corrupt ministers should resign. A corrupt man like you has no right to be in power,” Union Minister Anurag Thakur told ANI.

Highlighting Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, who’s in judicial custody in connection with a money laundering case, Thakur said,”You’re (Arvind Kejriwal) silent on LG’s letter to MHA for CBI probe into corruption allegations. It shows corruption by your people under your nose. There were allegations against Satyendar Jain who lost his memory in jail. Will Manish Sisodia too lose memory?.”

The union minister also stressed that the Delhi chief minister made tall claims but has set new records of corruption.

“One corruption instance after the other is coming out from your departments. You made tall claims before entering politics but your government has set new records of corruption,” he added.

His remarks came after Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged violations of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s new contentious excise policy including “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” made by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to “provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees.”

A report on July 8 by the Chief Secretary established prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules 2010.

The report indicates substantively financial quid pro quo at the top political level and that the Delhi excise policy was implemented with the sole aim of benefitting private liquor barons for financial benefits to individuals at the highest rungs of the government leading up to Manish Sisodia.

The Minister in charge of the Excise Department, Manish Sisodia took and got executed, major decisions/actions in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications, officials at the LG office said.

The LG office said that Mr Sisodia also extended “undue financial favours” to the liquor licensees much after the tenders had been awarded and thus caused huge losses to the exchequer.

Sisodia’s role is under the scanner for alleged deliberate and gross procedural lapses which provided undue benefits to the tender process for liquor licensees for the year 2021-22, officials in the Lieutenant-Governor’s office told ANI.

The excise policy was passed in chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.

As migrants were leaving the city, dhabas, restaurants, hotels, gyms, schools, and all other business establishments were facing closure, the excise department under Sisodia allegedly allowed a waiver of ₹ 144.36 crores to a liquor cartel with an excuse of COVID-19 pandemic.

“While people were dying, livelihoods collapsing, businesses shutting down that could have been helped by giving financial assistance, all that the Kejriwal government had on mind was benefitting merchants of alcohol in lieu of kickbacks and commissions,” the LG office said.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has claimed that the new excise policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, and eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.

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