Atishi, Saurabh To Take Oath As Delhi Ministers On March 9

Atishi, Saurabh To Take Oath As Delhi Ministers On March 9

Atishi, Saurabh To Take Oath As Delhi Ministers On March 9

Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj will be sworn in as ministers of the Delhi government’s cabinet on March 9, said a party source on Tuesday.

Earlier, according to a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs published on Tuesday, President Droupadi Murmu appointed both leaders as ministers in the Delhi cabinet on the advice of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, with effect from the date they are sworn in.

Kejriwal had forwarded the names to the Lieutenant Governor for their appointment to the Cabinet.

The development came after the President accepted the resignations of arrested AAP ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain on Tuesday.

Atishi represents the Kalkaji constituency and has been a key member of Sisodia’s education team.

She had also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the East Delhi constituency and lost to BJP’s Gautam Gambhir.

Bhardwaj, the party’s national spokesperson, had served the Delhi Jal Board as its vice chairman.

The legislator from Greater Kailash was also a minister during the first stint of the AAP government.

Earlier in the day, the Home Ministry said that the President has accepted the resignation of jailed Delhi ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain who tendered their resignation to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a week ago amid an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy scam.

Sisodia had resigned from his all 18 posts following his arrest in the alleged excise policy scam.

After former Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain’s arrest last year, seven portfolios handled by him were shifted to Sisodia, who was looking after 18 departments when he was arrested.

Sisodia was arrested last Sunday in an ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD).

The chain of events in the alleged case began in July last year, when Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar submitted a report to Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, accusing Sisodia of providing undue benefits to liquor vend licensees in lieu of “kickbacks” and “commissions”, which were allegedly used by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Punjab Assembly elections in February that year.

“Excise department, under direct orders of Sisodia, decided to allow a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore singularly to the liquor cartel, on the tendered licence fee, under the excuse of the Covid pandemic,” the report of Delhi Chief Secretary said.

The excise policy was passed in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.

The Delhi government’s version is that the policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.

The CBI had filed a case against alleged corruption in the 2021-22 excise policy. The excise policy was subsequently withdrawn by the AAP government.

Sisodia was among 15 others booked in an FIR filed by the CBI. Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers, some unknown public servants and private persons were booked in the case.

It was alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in the Excise Policy and undue favours were extended to the license holders including waiver or reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 license without approval etc.

He is now lodged in Tihar’s jail after Rouse Avenue Court on Monday sent him to judicial custody till March 20.

The jail officials told ANI said that the 51-year-old AAP senior leader has been kept in a senior citizen’s cell and is not sharing the cell with anyone at present. He is under CCTV surveillance.

“Sisodia is lodged in ward number 9, with mounted CCTVs, of Tihar Jail number 1,” jail officials said, adding that he will be sharing his cell with another person in the near time. He also has some dreaded criminals as neighbours in the same ward.

The AAP leader was taken to Tihar jail in the afternoon and after which he had to undergo some medical tests. “After reaching Tihar Jail on Monday afternoon Sisodia underwent a medical test and his report came “normal”, the officials added.

He has been provided with a ‘Sparsh Kit’, which includes toothpaste, soap, toothbrush and other items of daily needs.

The Special Judge MK Nagpal on Monday sent Sisodia to Judicial Custody for 14 days after noting that CBI didn’t demand further Custody of him at this time, but it may be sought later if required.

Sisodia has been allowed to have medicines prescribed in his MLC conducted by the CBI officials.

He has also been permitted to carry a pair of spectacles, a diary, a pen, and a copy of The Gita during the judicial custody period.

As requested by Sisodia’s side, the court also directed the Jail superintendent to consider the request of keeping the accused in the vipassana cell/ Meditation cell.

The CBI during the hearing submitted that he has not supported the investigation, and the witnesses were terrified.

On the last date, the Court issued notice to CBI on bail moved by Sisodia and listed the matter for March 10, 2023.

The former Delhi Minister in his bail petition in a trial court stated that no fruitful purpose would be served to keep him in custody as all the recoveries have already been made. (ANI)

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