The Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday claimed that the Central Bureau of Investigation will arrest Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday in connection with a case pertaining to the excise policy of the government.

The federal investigative agency has directed Sisodia to appear before it at its headquarters in Delhi at 11 am on Monday for questioning.

Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj claimed that the Delhi deputy chief minister will be arrested to put roadblocks in the party’s electoral campaign in Gujarat. “The Bharatiya Janata Party thinks that this will weaken the AAP,” he said at a press conference. “But the residents of Gujarat know why Manish ji is going to be arrested. The AAP will emerge as a strong force in Gujarat.”

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal compared Sisodia and another Delhi minister, Satyendar Jain, to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Jain has been arrested in a money laundering case and the party has alleged that the Enforcement Directorate took action due to political vendetta.

“Neither prison nor the noose could suppress Bhagat Singh’s determination,” Kejriwal remarked on Sunday. “This is the second war of independence...After 75 years, the country got an education minister who gave poor people the hope of a bright future by giving them good education. The blessings of crores of poor people are with you [Sisodia]”.

The CBI had booked Sisodia and 14 other persons on charges of irregularities in the now-scrapped liquor policy on August 17. On August 30, the agency had also raided premises linked to the Aam Aadmi Party leader and other accused persons.

Sisodia claims that the first information report registered against him in the case was fake. He had also alleged that the BJP had offered to close all cases against him if he joins the saffron outfit.

On Sunday, soon after the summon, Sisodia said that he will fully cooperate with the investigative agency.

“CBI raided my house for 14 hours, nothing came out of it,” he wrote in a tweet. “They searched my bank locker and found nothing. They did not find anything in my village.”

The excise policy

The excise policy 2021-’22, formulated on the basis of an expert committee report, came into effect in November. Under it, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. Earlier, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores and the remaining 389 were private shops.

However, it was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on July 30 after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into the new policy’s formulation and implementation by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

In the FIR, the central agency has alleged that the Delhi deputy chief minister and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions about the excise policy without the approval of competent authority with “an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender”.

Based on its findings, the CBI has arrested Vijay Nair, an AAP worker as well as former chief executive officer of event management company Only Much Louder. It has also arrested Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally, whose partner Arun Pillai has been named as an accused in the FIR.