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CBI to probe Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia

In fresh trouble for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered two preliminary enquiries (PE) — one against the seniormost leader of the party and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

According to agency officials, the PE against Sisodia is in connection with alleged irregularities in the social media campaign ‘Talk to AK’ and sources told DNA that Sisodia might soon face questioning.

The probe agency registered another PE into the appointment of Saumya Jain, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s daughter, as advisor to the Delhi government’s Mohalla Clinic project. Former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had earlier recommended a CBI probe into the matter.

The probe will cause another headache for Jain, who is already mired in controversy. Jain had been in the news when CBI registered a case against his Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in December last year. The CBI had registered an FIR and conducted a search in connection with alleged irregularities in the appointment of Dr Nikunj Aggarwal, a senior resident, as OSD to Satyendar Jain.

More serious allegations were levelled against the health minister as the Income-Tax (I-T) department began an investigation into alleged hawala transfers worth around Rs 17 crore, and money-laundering with the help of hawala operators. I-T officials said that the department had already summoned the minister thrice.

Talking about the modus operandi, agency officials said that during their probe they found that companies allegedly controlled by Jain had received Rs 16.39 crore from 56 shell companies belonging to three hawala operators – Jivendra Mishra, Abhishek Chokhani and Rajendra Bansal — all based in Kolkata.

I-T officials added that a scrutiny of the returns of the four companies — Indo Metal Impex Pvt Limited, Akinchan Developers Pvt Limited, Mangalyaatan Projects Pvt Ltd and Paryas Infosolutions Pvt Ltd — all said to be owned by Jain, had revealed that money laundering was happening through these companies since 2010.

The PE against Sisodia will have huge implications for the party. Soon after the news about the PE, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using CBI against the AAP. In a series of tweets, Kejriwal suggested that facing accusations of corruption and impending defeats in various state elections, the PM had let loose the CBI on AAP.

Sisodia himself took to Twitter and shared Kejriwal’s attack against the PM and the CBI. Meanwhile at the agency, officials maintained the cases were filed based on complaints it had received.