The Feedback Unit set up by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in 2015 was to allow hearing of any whistle-blower complaints that may arise and the party is steadfast in its support for Manish Sisodia and could approach the Supreme Court in the matter if required, senior AAP leader Jasmine Shah has said.
The CBI has recently lodged an FIR regarding the Feedback Unit against Sisodia, who is already in jail in the liquor scam case lodged by the agency. The agencies claim the unit was used for political snooping.
However, speaking to News18, spokesperson Shah claimed that the feedback unit was set up to allow whistle-blower complaints.
“The feedback unit was created as part of the vigilance department under the Delhi government to keep tabs on complaints of corruption in departments and entities under the Delhi government in 2015. It was to allow hearing of any whistle-blower complaints that may arise. The AAP came to power on an anti-corruption plank. It was crucial to have a mechanism to keep a check on the working of the various branches of government,” Shah said in an interview.
He said initially, the Delhi government had two departments under it to check corruption — vigilance and Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). “But, the ACB was taken away forcefully from us in 2015 itself and put under the direct control of the Lieutenant Governor (L-G). It had nothing to do with the party. The charges of political snooping by the ED are laughable and hilarious. Can the government of a half-state snoop on the prime minister of this country without the police, CBI or IB even knowing about it? These are amongst the long list of fake cases being slapped by central investigation agencies against AAP leaders,” said Shah.
AAP backing Sisodia?
Both Sisodia and Satyendar Jain recently resigned from their ministerial posts while MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj have been inducted in the cabinet in their place. Soon after Sisodia’s official residence was recently given to the new education minister, it led to a perception that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has given up on Sisodia after his arrest and the party may not be backing him.
“Every leader and volunteer in the party is steadfast in their support for Sisodia. We will take care of both their families and support them. We are applying for bail in the cases and are examining every legal recourse possible. If required, we will approach the Supreme Court for the same. We keep our faith in the judicial system and believe eventually truth shall come out,” said Shah.
He said “even a child in this country knows” that Sisodia has been arrested in “fake cases at the behest of the Centre”.
When asked why both Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain had not received any relief from the courts if political vendetta was the only reason behind the arrests as the AAP claims, Shah said the law under ED has been made so draconian that getting bail is just not possible.
“There is not a shred of evidence produced against the two leaders. Even last September, when the high court had asked the ED to produce evidence against Jain on his bail application, the agency requested that the bail plea be transferred to another judge and this happened too,” he said.
Shah slammed the agencies, saying “the caged parrot is now a puppet, here the process has been made to be the punishment”.
Impact on 2024?
With 2023-24 being election years and two topmost leaders of the party Sisodia (former deputy chief minister) and (health minister) being arrested on serious corruption charges by central investigating agencies, would it dent AAP’s image and hence electoral prospects? Shah doesn’t agree.
“AAP is receiving more heat than any other opposition party because the BJP-ruled Centre is most fearful of us ahead of 2024. They know the AAP’s quality of delivery of services,” said Shah. He referred to AAPs “Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao” campaign as an agenda, besides creating jobs and boosting the economy, for 2024.
The party’s governance model is also under the scanner in Punjab, where Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh was not acted against for long and he escaped when police finally raided him. “There were G20 meetings going on in Punjab. We should leave the timing of the action to law enforcement agencies who have their strategy for dealing with such cases. The law will catch up with Singh soon, he won’t be able to evade arrest for long,” he said.
Shah served as vice-chairperson of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi until his office was sealed by the L-G last November for alleged “misuse of public office”. The post was equivalent to the rank of a cabinet minister in the Delhi government.
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