Aam Aadmi Party leaders and workers on Monday held protests in several states against the arrest of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in connection with alleged corruption in the now-scrapped excise policy relating to the sale of alcohol. Amid tight security, protests are being staged in Chandigarh, Delhi, Bhopal and other cities. Security on Monday morning was beefed up around the BJP headquarters here where the AAP has called for a “big protest”.
An AAP functionary said in Delhi that all MLAs have been asked to gather 200 people from their respective constituencies for the protest. Delhi Police has erected barricades on several roads leading to DDU Marg where both the BJP headquarters and the AAP office are located. Paramilitary forces have also been deployed to maintain law and order.
The Aam Aadmi Party is observing the day as a “black day”.
The party alleged that 80 per cent of its leaders have been “arrested” by police, and questioned whether anyone can be in “police detention” for 24 hours.
Police said the leaders were detained on Sunday and were being released on Monday.
Police on Sunday detained 50 people, including AAP MP Sanjay Singh and minister Gopal Rai, who were protesting near the CBI office. MLA from Trilokpuri Rohit Kumar Mehraulia and MLA from Sangam Vihar Dinesh Mohaniya were also detained.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday claimed that most of the CBI officers were opposed to arresting his deputy Manish Sisodia but did so due to “political pressure”.
“I am told that most CBI officers were against Manish’s arrest. All of them 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,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Reacting to CM’s claim, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari accused him of fabricating facts regarding Sisodia’s arrest.
“Similar kinds of fake news was spread by you regarding IB in Gujarat (during assembly elections). Now everyone knows what you write and say is fabricated. Let the law take its course. Liquor Minister’s liquor scam probe will grow. This is your fear,” he said.
Sisodia’s arrest, one of the high-profile actions against an opposition leader, came after that of Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s then health minister, in June last year. Both ministers have led what the Aam Aadmi Party describes as the successful transformation of Delhi’s education and health services, contributing to the party’s popularity and continued electoral success.