New Delhi, October 13, 2023: The ongoing investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy scam has taken a significant turn with the arrest of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Sanjay Singh. He has been remanded to judicial custody until October 27, intensifying the political discourse surrounding the alleged irregularities in the scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.
The Delhi Excise Policy, introduced in 2021, aimed to overhaul the liquor distribution system in the national capital. It was projected to increase the government’s revenue from alcohol sales by ensuring transparency and breaking the monopoly of certain distributors. However, allegations surfaced about undue favors being extended to specific license holders, leading to potential revenue losses for the state exchequer.
The policy, which was implemented by the Delhi government on November 17, 2021, faced severe backlash and was eventually scrapped at the end of September 2022 amid rising corruption allegations. The central agencies, including the CBI and the ED, initiated investigations, claiming that the policy’s modification led to undue favours for certain license holders.
On Friday, the Delhi High Court sought the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) stance on a plea by Sanjay Singh challenging his arrest. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma directed the ED to file its response and scheduled the matter for a subsequent hearing on Tuesday.
Singh’s legal team argued that the arrest was made without following due procedure, emphasizing that no prior summons or notice was issued. In contrast, the ED’s representation sought additional time for filing a detailed response, highlighting the gravity of the allegations.
During the court proceedings, Singh alleged that the ED had turned a blind eye to complaints he had lodged against business magnate Adani. He claimed that instead of focusing on the core issue, he was interrogated about personal financial transactions, raising questions about the agency’s intent.
The arrest has ignited political debates, with Singh vocally criticizing the ED’s actions, terming it an “entertainment department” and accusing it of spreading misinformation. He reiterated that he was never summoned or informed about any inquiry before his arrest on October 4.
The Delhi High Court, in an unprecedented move, directed Singh to refrain from making political speeches within the courtroom, especially after he broached subjects related to Prime Minister Modi and Adani.
The unfolding events around the Delhi Excise Policy scam and Singh’s arrest are expected to have significant political ramifications. With the AAP leader now in custody and the investigations gaining momentum, the coming days are set to reveal more about the alleged scam and its implications on Delhi’s political landscape.