Excise Scam: ‘Manish Sisodia Destroyed Cabinet Note File Containing Legal Opinion’, Says CBI

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Excise Scam: ‘Manish Sisodia Destroyed Cabinet Note File Containing Legal Opinion’, Says CBI

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged in its supplementary chargesheet filed in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy Scam that former Delhi`s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, “destroyed” a draft Cabinet Note which was prepared by the Excise Department and put up before the Council of Ministers in the meeting which was held on January 28, 2021.

In the draft Cabinet Note, the legal opinions of Ranjan Gogoi and KG Balakrishnan, both former Chief Justice of India (CJI), Mukul Rohtagi, senior advocate and former attorney general of India (AGI), and others were obtained.

The CBI has claimed that their legal opinions were mostly in favor of maintaining the status quo (which means the policy which was being brought should be stalled). On January 28, 2021, a file containing the cabinet note was taken to the camp office (official residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal).

Here, the Delhi Excise Department officials handed over the file to Pravesh Jha, the additional secretary to Kejriwal. KP Gupta, who was looking after the work of the Secretary of Finance, signed the file, marked it to Sisodia and gave it back to Jha.

After that, Sisodia was given the file by Jha to seek the approval of the chief minister before placing it before the meeting of the Council of Ministers. However, this file was not considered by the ministers in the meeting.

“Sisodia called Rahul Singh, the Delhi Excise Commissioner, and expressed his anger for incorporating the comments of the legal experts in the Cabinet Note. Sisodia did not return the file containing the Cabinet Note to Delhi Excise Department or Excise officials. Later, when the The CBI inquired about the Cabinet Note file, the Finance Department informed that the file was missing,” a source said, quoting the chargesheet.

The CBI has also alleged that later, their digital evidence corroborated that the file was submitted to Sisodia by the Excise Department. The CBI said that later on February 2, 2021, Sisodia made a fresh note, but there, he did not make any reference to the previous cabinet note.

The CBI has alleged that this was done with the intention of suppressing the submission of the Cabinet Note. The CBI has alleged that Sisodia then directed the new excise commissioner to prepare a fresh cabinet note without making any reference to the legal opinions of the former chief justice of India. And on February 5, 2021, a fresh cabinet note was put up before the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“This clearly indicates that Sisodia wanted to help the accused involved in the case and was working with a pre-conceived idea to formulate the excise policy in a particular manner to suit the design of the co-accused and dishonestly did not put the original cabinet note in the cabinet meeting of January 28, 2021, and also destroyed the file of the cabinet note because it was not suiting their further designs,” said the source. This was the second supplementary chargesheet by the CBI in the matter.

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