The CBI conducted raids on Friday at the residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in connection with a case that the agency has registered against him and several top excise officers in the national capital region over corruption and irregularities in rolling out of the recently withdrawn liquor policy by the Aam Aadmi Party government.

Less than a month ago the Delhi L-G Vinay Kumar Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, putting Sisodia, in-charge of the excise department, as the main target on the CBI radar. The Delhi government had on July 30 announced it was withdrawing the new policy.

The LG’s recommendations had followed a report submitted by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar. The report, submitted on July 8, accused Sisodia of providing undue benefits to liquor vend licencees in lieu of “kickbacks” and “commissions”, and the money being used in the recent Punjab elections.

“Delhi Chief Secretary submitted a report highlighting procedural lapses and post tender benefits given to licencees. The Delhi L-G has sent recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs to get a CBI investigation done into the Delhi Excise Policy,” the LG’s office had said in a statement earlier.

The Chief Secretary’s report had alleged that the “Excise department, under direct orders of Sisodia, decided to allow a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore singularly to the liquor cartel, on the tendered licence fee, under the excuse of the Covid pandemic”.

The new policy was introduced by the Delhi government to increase government revenue, improve consumer experience, and reduce corruption. Under the new policy, implemented in November last year, only private liquor shops were to run in the Capital.  The revised policy, with changes like home delivery of liquor, the opening of shops till 3 am and allowing licensees to offer unlimited discounts, was proposed by the group of ministers in the cabinet on May 2.