The CBI on Friday recorded Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s statement in an ongoing probe in the award of work related to the ‘Talk to AK’ campaign. The AAP government dubbed the move as “BJP’s revengeful action and dirty politics”.
A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers visited Sisodia’s AB-17, Mathura Road residence in central Delhi in the morning and recorded his statement in connection with a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered against him and other unnamed state government officials on January 18.
The CBI officials left Sisodia’s home in the evening.
Reacting to Aam Aadmi Party leaders’ criticism that the CBI had raided Sisodia’s house, the central agency clarified that “it is not a raid but a move to seek clarification on certain issues in a PE”.
According to rules, no search or raid can be conducted under a PE.
“There is no raid or search at the premises of Sisodia. The visit of the CBI team is to seek clarification on certain issues relating to the ongoing inquiry,” CBI Spokesperson R.K. Gaur said.
The CBI had filed a PE against the senior AAP leader to probe alleged irregularities in the ‘Talk to AK’ campaign following a complaint filed by Delhi government’s Vigilance Department.
Investigators said Sisodia and other government officials are accused of impropriety and violation of rules and regulations in the award of work related to the media campaign, which was an interactive session of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, through which people could reach out to the AAP leader through social media.
Hours after the CBI visited Sisodia’s house, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh flayed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying “by doing all this, the central government is trying to disrupt the good work of the Delhi government”.
“I want to say this to the BJP and our Prime Minister that if you have so much hatred against the AAP and Delhi government, force this government out. But please don’t defame a hardworking minister, don’t defame our party. This is dirty politics,” Sanjay Singh told the media.
He said the BJP’s aim was to finish anyone who spoke against them, be it political parties or a media outlet.
Sanjay Singh said that a news channel’s founder’s residence/offices were raided by the CBI earlier this month. “The CBI has recommended shutting down of the channel. This has become the CBI’s role now,” he said.
The AAP government also called the CBI a “caged parrot” and accused the Centre of using it to victimise dissenters.
“Earlier, CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office was raided. The Centre using caged parrot to victimise voices of dissent! #RIPDemocracy,” Sisodia’s Media Adviser Arunoday Prakash said in a tweet, adding that the Delhi government will not be scared by this move.
“If they think Manish Sisodia will get afraid and stop working for schools after CBI raids, they are mistaken! Highly mistaken!.”
On May 8, 2013, the Supreme Court had dubbed the CBI a “caged parrot that speaks in its master’s voice” and had asked the Centre whether it intended to make the agency’s functioning independent.
Reacting to AAP’s allegation on the central government, Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari said: “The CBI has been investigating the matter for quite some time now and today (Friday) it has given an opportunity to Sisodia to file his statement. He must cooperate with the agency.”