Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said that he has written to the CBI alleging that former Lt Governor Anil Baijal has suddenly changed his stance on opening liquor shops in unauthorized areas. “The cabinet policy was first cleared by the previous LG, but later the decision was reversed. This led to a loss of thousands of crores. Why was this decision taken? I hope the CBI will conduct a fair investigation.”
The Delhi excise policy has emerged as a flashpoint between the AAP and the BJP-ruled central government. Before Sisodia, Lt Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena had written to the Central Bureau of Investigation recommending a probe into the liquor policy cleared by the Aam Aadmi Party government last year. Later the policy was put on hold in the middle of the row but a temporary extension was given for a month.
“The new policy was implemented in 2021. But some in power stopped the implementation to favor a select few. I have written to the CBI asking them to investigate how and why this happened.
“Earlier, 849 shops in the national capital were unevenly distributed. In the new policy, equitable distribution has been underlined to avoid instances like the Hooch policy. Before clearing the policy, read the (former) LG policy carefully,” Sisodia said at a press conference. “He suggested the changes. Then we sent it to them in June with revisions. He cleared it the second time.
Stressing on “equal distribution”, Sisodia stressed that the previous LG had not objected to setting up shops in “unauthorized areas” and had read it “twice”.
“But when it came to opening shops, including in unauthorized areas, LG Saab changed its stance. This is the root cause of the problem. This happened in November. In that case, permission should be given to open DDA and MCD shops, he said. But they couldn’t… and knew it.
Alleging that the government suffered losses worth thousands of crores after the issue of new licenses came up in court and suggested fee relaxation, Sisodia said the former LG “changed his decision without discussing it with the cabinet”, which “caused losses worth thousands”. Crores, and only a few sellers benefited”.