The Aam Aadmi Party has demanded that the Enforcement Directorate arrest Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and probe his role in the alleged liquor scam in the state.
The federal agency on Saturday arrested liquor businessman Anwar Dhebar, the brother of Congress leader and Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar, in connection with the alleged scam.
In its remand application filed in a special court, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed that there was a “massive scam” in the liquor trade in Chhattisgarh by a syndicate, comprising high-level state government officials, private persons and political executives.
It also claimed that the scam generated corruption money of more than Rs 2,000 crore between 2019-22.
“Such a massive scam is not possible without a nexus from bottom to top. To run such a syndicate, the blessings of a big political leader are required. The pattern of the scam directly points fingers at the chief minister of the state,” Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said at a press conference on Monday.
The role of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel in the scam should be probed, he said, adding that “we demand the chief minister be arrested and interrogated”.
Bharadwaj also demanded that the ED question Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in connection with the case.
“Rahul Gandhi should also be interrogated as the Chhattisgarh chief minister is so close to him,” the AAP leader said, alleging, “It is not possible that Rahul Gandhi is not aware of such a big scam happening under his nose.” Asked why the AAP was attacking the Congress on the issue, days after it extend support to efforts being made to forge an opposition unity against the BJP, Bharadwaj said that “people from the Congress have only told us that one should not be scared of facing probe”.
Congress leader Ajay Maken has been attacking the AAP over the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam and Rs 45-crore expenditure on the renovation of the official bungalow of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the AAP’s national convener.
Maken, a former Delhi Congress chief, had last month launched a scathing attack on Kejriwal, saying that individuals such as him and his associates who face “serious corruption charges” should not be shown any sympathy or support.
The stance by Maken was at variance with his party’s central leadership as Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had telephoned Kejriwal a day ago after the AAP national convenor was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation.