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AAP Protests Manish Sisodia Arrest Across India

© AFP 2023 -Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (C) arrives at the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) office for questioning in connection with the alleged Delhi Excise Policy case in New Delhi on October 17, 2022.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (C) arrives at the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) office for questioning in connection with the alleged Delhi Excise Policy case in New Delhi on October 17, 2022.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.02.2023
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested on Sunday evening by the Central Investigation Bureau (CBI) in a liquor policy scam.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) staged protests in different parts of the country to highlight the arrest of its number two Manish Sisodia on Monday.
Sisodia is the deputy state chief of the Delhi local government and a close aide of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
The protests were witnessed, particularly, outside the national and state headquarters of AAP's arch-rival and federally governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which the AAP consider responsible for the arrest.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on August 20, 2022, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had raided his home in relation to alleged irregularities with the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 26.02.2023
Domestic News
Delhi Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia Arrested By CBI in Liquor Policy Case
AAP supporters raised slogans and held placards supporting Sisodia, as well as criticizing the BJP. The Aam Aadmi Party said it was taking Monday as a "black day."
Earlier in the day, AAP spokesperson Gopal Rai said protests would be held across the country, including in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Assam, among others.
Meanwhile, Delhi state chief Arvind Kejriwal alleged that federal probe agency CBI's officers did not want to arrest Sisodia, but did so due to political pressure.
"I am told that most CBI officers were against Manish's arrest. They all have huge respect for him and there is no evidence against him. But the political pressure to arrest him was so high that they had to obey their political masters," he said.
Security has been beefed up outside the BJP and the AAP headquarters in Delhi's Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg area, as offices of both parties lie hardly 500 meters from each other.
Delhi Traffic Police confirmed on social media that many routes in central Delhi where these offices are located were diverted or closed.

Why was Sisodia Arrested?

Last year, investigative agencies the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI filed a case on Delhi's new liquor policy introduced by the AAP-led Delhi government in November 2021.
Under the new law, obtaining liquor-selling licenses in Delhi became easier. Private players across Delhi opened hundreds of shops, allowing licensees to sell liquor.
However, the opposition BJP in Delhi soon alleged that Sisodia, also head of Delhi's excise department, bent the rules and gave undue benefits to liquor vend licensees.
Following this, Delhi's lieutenant governor ordered an inquiry, in which the ED claimed the new policy caused an INR 28 billion ($338 million) loss to the government. It also said that the liquor lobby allegedly paid at least INR one billion ($12 million) to the AAP.
For its part, the AAP has denied all allegations on many occasions and even said that these cases were fake.
"There is no such thing as a liquor scam. We formulated the country's best and most transparent policy," Kejriwal said.

Why Sisodia Matters?

Sisodia is viewed as the AAP's second-in-command after party convenor Kejriwal.
He is currently heading 18 departments in the Kejriwal-led Delhi government, including the Finance and Education Ministry. He is supposed to present the Delhi budget in two weeks. However, with his arrest, it is not clear how the party will introduce Delhi's annual budget.