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Excise Case: Delhi CM Kejriwal Appears Before CBI For Questioning

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Excise Case: Delhi CM Kejriwal Appears Before CBI For Questioning

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeared before the CBI on Sunday for questioning in the excise policy scam case, officials said. The agency had summoned him on Friday last seeking his appearance as a witness before the investigation team to answer their queries on the inputs generated during the probe in which his former deputy Manish Sisodia was also arrested on February 26, they said. Kejriwal arrived in his car at the heavily fortified CBI headquarters, where the Delhi Police has put in place four rings of barricading to prevent any possible protests by the Aam Admi Party leaders and supporters.

The CBI has kept Sunday for questioning as the neighbourhood, which consists of complexes having government offices, remains closed, thus causing the least inconvenience to the officials coming here. After his arrival at the agency headquarters at 11:10 AM, Kejriwal was taken to the first floor office of the Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI, which is probing the matter. Senior officials of the agency remained present in the office on Sunday to keep an eye on the development, a normal course whenever a VIP comes to the agency, they said.

During the day, which will also include a lunch break, the CBI may ask the chief minister about the policy formulation process, especially the “untraceable” file, which was earlier slated to be put before the Council of Ministers, they said. They said the file containing opinions of the expert committee and public and legal opinions on it was not kept before the council and remains untraceable.

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The agency may also quiz Kejriwal on the statements of other accused, where they have indicated the manner in which policy was allegedly influenced to favor some liquor businessmen and the South liquor lobby, they said. In addition, the officials said the agency might also seek his role in formulating the excise policy and his knowledge about the alleged influence being cast by the traders and South lobby members.

Kejriwal may also be asked if he was involved in the formulation of the policy before it was given approval, he said. Sisodia was later taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate last month and remains in judicial custody with his bail plea rejected by the special court on March 31, they said. While dismissing the bail plea, the court said he played the “most important and vital role in the criminal conspiracy” and had been “deeply involved” in formulating and implementing the said policy to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the said conspiracy. The court termed Sisodia “prima facie” as “the architect” of the criminal conspiracy.

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