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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned by CBI for 9 hours in liquor policy corruption case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for nearly nine hours on Wednesday in connection with the liquor policy case. The case is related to alleged corruption in framing a policy to benefit a liquor lobby. The CBI said that Kejriwal was questioned as a witness and he has not been summoned for further questioning by the agency so far.

Picture: Kumaon Jagran

According to reports, Kejriwal told reporters after returning from the CBI headquarters near Lodhi Road in central Delhi that he was asked a total of 56 questions and he believed that the case was fake. He added that he was convinced the CBI didn't have any evidence against him or his government. Kejriwal's former deputy Manish Sisodia, who held the excise portfolio, was arrested in the same case last month.

Kejriwal said the CBI had asked him questions about the liquor policy from the year it came into force, 2020, to the end of it. He further said that he would discuss the matter in the special session of the Delhi assembly called by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Thursday. He also claimed that the liquor policy case was a lie, fabricated to defame him and his government.

The AAP called an emergency meeting of senior leaders amid concerns that Kejriwal could be arrested while he was being questioned by the CBI. AAP leaders including Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh were detained by the Delhi Police for protesting near the CBI's office in Lodhi Road. They were later released after Kejriwal stepped out of the CBI office.

According to reports, the CBI wants to find out why the excise policy was cleared by the Delhi government after an inquiry was ordered by the then Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. The clearance came after it had been deferred twice. The CBI allegedly wants to know why the policy was changed to benefit a liquor lobby. The Delhi government scrapped the new liquor policy in July 2022, less than a year after it was introduced, and reverted to the old policy.

The CBI had said that the then secretary to Sisodia told investigators that the draft liquor policy was given to him in March 2021 by the now-arrested leader at Kejriwal's home. The bureaucrat, C Arvind, has given the statement before a magistrate, making it admissible evidence in court. The CBI wanted Kejriwal's statement on the meeting, as it allegedly took place at his home.

While Kejriwal's questioning lasted for nearly nine hours, AAP leaders accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in Kejriwal phobia. Raghav Chadha said that the BJP was doing this to defame the AAP and its good development work.

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