CBI pays surprise visit to Delhi Secretariat, Sisodia cries foul (Roundup)
New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) A day after it registered a preliminary inquiry against Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to probe alleged irregularities in the ‘Talk to AK’ campaign, the CBI on Thursday paid a surprise visit to Delhi government’s advertisement department.
A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths visited Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) office at Delhi Secretariat and collected documents relating to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s “Talk to AK” media campaign.
“Our team visited the DIP office in Delhi Secretariat to collect some documents to probe the allegation of improprieties and violation of extent rules and regulations in award of work pertaining to the Delhi government’s media campaign ‘Talk to AK’,” a CBI official told IANS.
Sisodia alleged that the CBI was “acting on instructions” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, he said, was rattled by AAP’s resolve to send Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia, who it accuses of having links with international drug mafia, to jail.
“After we said we will send Punjab’s druglord Bikram Majithia to jail, they (BJP) filed a CBI case against me,” Sisodia said.
“Modiji, your CBI threat will not be able to protect your favourite druglord in Punjab (Bikram) Majithia. His countdown has already begun,” he added.
Sisodia added that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had no political future left.
“They (BJP) are rattled as they are not winning Uttar Pradesh elections, while we are winning Punjab and Goa. That is why they are doing just anything in frustration,” Sisodia said.
Challenging Modi, the Deputy Chief Minister added that he was not scared.
“Go ahead, call your CBI and arrest me. I am not scared,” he tweeted.
Soon after CBI’s surprise visit to DIP office, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Modi had turned the investigative agency into a “Laughing stock”.
The CBI on Wednesday registered a preliminary inquiry against Sisodia and some unnamed state government officials to probe alleged irregularities in the ‘Talk to AK’ media campaign.
The campaign was Kejriwal’s interactive session with the public, in which people could reach out to the AAP leader through social media.
Sisodia had then said that he would be expecting CBI raids at his home and office on Thursday.
“CBI team reached advertisement department of Delhi government. Modiji, I was waiting for it since morning at my home and my office,” Sisodia tweeted on Thursday after the agency’s surprise visit.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal claimed the CBI was scared of Sisodia.
“Today (Thursday) Manish (Sisodia) kept waiting for the CBI, but it did not turn up. Till now people used to fear CBI, but it is for the first time when CBI is fearing someone,” Kejriwal tweeted.
AAP Delhi Convener Dilip Pandey also accused Prime Minister Modi of targeting the party to protect Majithia.
“Just when Kejriwal on January 17 announced April 15 as the date when Majithia will be sent to jail, Modiji got hurt and unleashed CBI after AAP leaders,” Pandey told reporters.
He added that Kejriwal and AAP’s popularity in Punjab was bothering Modi.
“It is because of this Modiji is using CBI to file false cases against AAP leaders and ministers.
“But AAP is going to form governments in Punjab and Goa, and we will send all those culprits in jail who are looting the public money,” he added.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said there was no irregularity in the “Talk to AK” programme.
Jain alleged that all the allegations were baseless. “This is deliberately being done to frame and defame the government,” he added.
The CBI on Wednesday had also registered a preliminary inquiry in the appointment of Satyendar Jain’s daughter Soumya Jain as adviser to the Delhi government’s Mohalla Clinic project.
“If the Centre had to use CBI against Soumya and Sisodia, they could have done it six months ago or after February 4. But see the timing, it is being done in view of the Punjab elections,” he said.
“They want to disrupt our campaign in Punjab and divert public attention,” Jain alleged.
Both Sisodia and Jain are star campaigners in the Punjab assembly elections, where AAP is contesting against the ruling BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine, and the Congress.