NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s trusted lieutenants Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, both behind bars on corruption charges, resigned from the Cabinet on Tuesday.
Kejriwal has accepted the resignations of the two leaders, who played a pivotal role in implementing his governance agenda of good education and health facilities in the national capital, according to officials.
The opposition BJP had been demanding the resignation of Jain after his arrest in May last year by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
Sisodia too faced the heat after his name cropped up in the excise policy scam in August 2022. He was arrested by the CBI on Sunday evening in connection with the alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a bail plea filed by Sisodia.
”We are not inclined to entertain the petition under Article 32 at this stage,” a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha said.
The bench observed that just because the incident has happened in Delhi, Sisodia cannot come to the apex court directly as he has his remedies before the trial court concerned as well as the Delhi High Court.
Official sources said Sisodia’s portfolios would be allotted to Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot and Social Welfare Minister Raj Kumar Anand.
Sisodia, who was the deputy chief minister, was holding the charge of 18 out of 33 departments of the Delhi government, including health, finance, education and home. Even after his arrest, Jain continued to be a minister in the government but without any portfolio. His portfolios, including health, home and urban development, had been handed over to Sisodia.
Sisodia’s workload had almost doubled after Jain’s arrest, and he was handling most of the crucial departments of the city government.
Both have led what the AAP describes as the ”successful transformation” of Delhi’s education and health services, contributing to the party’s popularity and continued electoral success.
The BJP had stepped up its attack on the AAP following Sisodia’s arrest and had been demanding his sacking, along with that of Jain, from the Delhi Cabinet.
”BJP’s struggle has borne fruits. We had been demanding that Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain would have to resign and also go to jail. And out of embarrassment, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had to accept their resignations. This is a victory of BJP workers, a victory of truth,” Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva said.
”Liquor scam has happened with your complicity and right under your nose. You are responsible for it. Our struggle, demanding Kejriwal’s resignation, will continue,” he added.
The Congress said Sisodia has been arrested in an ”open-and-shut case of corruption”, and demanded that Kejriwal should be arrested too for his involvement in the liquor scam.
Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken said those who formed their party on the anti-corruption plank should answer questions posed on the excise policy, which was formed in complete contradiction of the recommendations of the committee set up by them.
”This is an open-and-shut case of corruption and a big scam has happened in Delhi and it should be viewed accordingly,” he said.
Source: Press Trust of India