Manish Sisodia destroyed cabinet note file containing legal opinion, says CBI

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in its supplementary charge sheet filed in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy scam, has alleged that former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia ‘destroyed’ the draft cabinet note prepared by the Excise Department. In the meeting held on January 28, 2021, it was placed before the department and the Council of Ministers.

In the draft cabinet note, Ranjan Gogoi and K.G. Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India (CJI), Mukul Rohatgi, senior advocate and former Attorney General of India (AGI), and others.

The CBI has claimed that their legal opinion was mostly in favor of maintaining the status quo (meaning that the policy that was being brought in should be put on hold). On January 28, 2021, a file containing the cabinet note was taken to the camp office (the official residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal).

Here, the officials of Delhi Excise Department handed over the file to Kejriwal’s Additional Secretary Pravesh Jha. K.P. Gupta, who was looking after the finance secretary, signed the file, marked it to Sisodia and returned it to Jha.

After this, Jha gave the file to Sisodia to get the Chief Minister’s approval before placing it before the Council of Ministers meeting. However, this file was not considered by the ministers in the meeting.

Sisodia called up Delhi Excise Commissioner Rahul Singh, and expressed his anger over the inclusion of legal experts’ comments in the cabinet note. Sisodia did not return the file containing the cabinet note to the Delhi Excise Department or the excise officials. Later, When the CBI inquired about the cabinet note file, the Finance Department told that the file was missing.

The CBI has also alleged that later, their digital evidence confirmed that the file was handed over to Sisodia by the Excise Department. The CBI said that later on February 2, 2021, Sisodia made a new note, but there he did not make any mention of the previous cabinet note.

The CBI has alleged that this was done with an intention to suppress the submission of the Cabinet note. The CBI has alleged that Sisodia then directed the new Excise Commissioner to prepare a new cabinet note without making any reference to the legal opinion of the former Chief Justice of India. And on February 5, 2021, a new cabinet note was placed before the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“This clearly indicates that Sisodia wanted to help the accused involved in the case and was acting with a pre-conceived idea to frame the excise policy in a particular manner in line with the design of the co-accused and the original cabinet Note in the cabinet meeting of January 28, 2021 and also destroyed the file of the cabinet note, as it was not in accordance with their secret design.” This was the second supplementary charge sheet by the CBI in the case.