The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has confronted Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia with his former secretary and ex-tax commissioner. The CBI on Wednesday questioned Sisodia for several hours in connection with the alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s publicity campaign ‘Talk to AK’ and the appointment of his former secretary Tarun Sharma.
Sisodia was questioned by a team of senior CBI officials, who had summoned him for the second time in the case. The CBI had earlier questioned him on May 18 and had also raided his office and residence in connection with the case.
The CBI has alleged that the Delhi government’s publicity campaign ‘Talk to AK’ was launched without inviting any tenders and payments were made to a private company for the services. The agency has also alleged irregularities in the appointment of Sharma as Sisodia’s secretary.
The CBI has accused Sisodia of bypassing the procedures and rules in appointing Sharma, who was earlier serving as an assistant commissioner in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) department.
The agency had earlier arrested Sharma in the case and had alleged that he had used his position to obtain favours for his relatives and acquaintances. The CBI has alleged that Sharma used his influence to get his cousin appointed in the Delhi government’s advisory council on education and also helped his relatives get contracts under the public works department.
Sisodia, however, has denied any wrongdoing and has alleged political vendetta by the central government. He has claimed that the CBI’s action is aimed at destabilising the Delhi government, which is led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The AAP has alleged that the central government is using the CBI and other agencies to target its leaders and is trying to destabilise the government. The party has also alleged that the BJP-led central government is misusing the CBI to target opposition leaders.
The confrontation between Sisodia and his former secretary and ex-tax commissioner has once again highlighted the ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and the central government. The AAP, which won a massive mandate in the 2015 assembly elections, has been at loggerheads with the central government over several issues.
The Delhi government has accused the central government of interfering in its affairs and not allowing it to function independently. The AAP has also accused the central government of hampering its efforts to improve the quality of education, healthcare and other services in the national capital.
The central government, on the other hand, has accused the AAP of misgovernance and of not utilising the funds and resources provided by the central government. The BJP has accused the AAP of indulging in corruption and of using public funds for its own benefit.
The confrontation between Sisodia and the CBI has also raised questions about the autonomy of the state governments and their ability to function independently. The ongoing tussle between the central government and the Delhi government has once again highlighted the need for greater cooperation and coordination between the centre and the states.
The Indian Constitution provides for a federal system of government, where the central government and the state governments have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. However, the ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and the central government has raised questions about the autonomy of the state governments and the need for greater federalism.
The CBI’s action against Sisodia and his former secretary and ex-tax commissioner has once again brought to the fore the need for greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. The public has a right to know how public funds are being utilised and whether the government officials are following the rules and regulations.
The confrontation between Sisodia and the CBI is likely to have wider political implications, as it comes ahead of the 2020 Delhi assembly elections. The AAP has been campaigning aggressively to retain power in the national capital, while the BJP is hoping to make a comeback after suffering defeat in the 2015 assembly elections.
The CBI’s action against Sisodia and his former secretary and ex-tax commissioner is likely to be closely watched by the public and could have a significant impact on the outcome of the Delhi assembly elections. It remains to be seen whether the ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and the central government will lead to greater transparency and accountability or whether it will further erode the autonomy of the state governments.