oppn parties Was It Necessary To Arrest Sisodia At This Juncture?

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Was It Necessary To Arrest Sisodia At This Juncture?

By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2023-03-01 06:31:47

About the Author

Sunil Garodia The India Commentary view

All Central governments in India have over the years used federal agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to move against opposition politicians and politically-connected persons. But the percentage of opposition politicians being targeted by these agencies under the NDA government has risen dramatically. Hence, the opposition allegation that the NDA is trying to use the agencies to crush dissent and intimidate and force some opposition politicians to change sides is not without valid reason. It is in this respect that Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's arrest raises questions, more so when his legal team claims that notice for arrest under Section 41A of the CrPC (mandatory in cases where the punishment is less than 7 years in jail) was not given.

That is the main reason why the entire opposition, except the Congress, has rallied behind AAP in protesting against the arrest of Manish Sisodia by the CBI in the alleged liquor excise scam case. Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26 after 7 hours of grilling as the agency claimed he was giving evasive replies even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. Later, he was remanded in CBI custody for 5 days. The Supreme Court refused to grant any relief to Sisodia and asked him to approach the trial court or the Delhi HC.

But AAP has a lot of explanation to do regarding the change in the liquor policy. Why was it changed to benefit private players and why it was hastily withdrawn when L-G V K Saxena raised questions and recommended a CBI inquiry? The CBI alleges that the new policy was designed to benefit private players and people close to Manish Sisodia received kickbacks and commissions. If Sisodia was giving evasive replies, the agency was within its rights to arrest him after following due process. But now, the entire focus will be on how the agency proceeds in the case. In many past cases against opposition politicians (the alleged 2G scam, for example), the CBI was unable to prove charges even after grilling them under custody. The CBI has to prove charges against Sisodia else his arrest will also be seen as part of a pattern to intimidate opposition leaders and the agency will lose further credibility.