Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi, made his first comments on claims of “political intelligence” collection by the Feedback Unit of the AAP administration on Thursday, claiming that if “powerful people” are afraid of him, it indicates he is now on par with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed that the Feedback Unit (FBU) set up by the Delhi government to check corruption allegedly collected “political intelligence”, a charge denied by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The agency has suggested in a report that an FIR be filed against Sisodia based on its initial investigation.
“The BJP has brought in new allegations against me that since 2015, I have been involved in snooping on them. If such big people, whose existence is dependent on using CBI, ED, and Pegasus to conspire against opposition leaders, and if they are scared of me, it seems that I have also become equal to Modi,” Sisodia said in a Hindi tweet.
His party has claimed that the BJP’s allegation that he was involved in “political snooping” is “completely false”. The Arvind Kejriwal government has also said the matter is “politically motivated”.
According to the CBI, the AAP government suggested creating the FBU in 2015 to collect data and useful feedback regarding the operations of various departments and autonomous organizations, institutions, and entities under the control of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD).
It further alleged that it was also to do “trap cases”. The unit started functioning in 2016 with a provision of Rs 1 crore for secret service expenditure, the agency has claimed.
The CBI has alleged that Chief Minister Kejriwal moved the proposal in a Cabinet meeting in 2015, but no agenda note was circulated. No sanction from the lieutenant governor was taken for appointments in the FBU, it has alleged.
“The Feedback Unit, in addition to collecting the mandated information, also collected political intelligence/intelligence qua miscellaneous issues,” the CBI has said in its preliminary inquiry report.
The Delhi government’s Vigilance Department sent the case to the CBI after discovering potential irregularities in the FBU. According to the organization, there is strong evidence that “delinquent public servants” intentionally broke laws, regulations, and directives.
“The nature of violations committed is inherently dishonest and as such materials disclose abuse of official position with dishonest intention by concerned public servants Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM, and Sukesh Kumar Jain, the then secretary (vigilance),” it has been alleged in the report.
According to the CBI, 60 percent of the reports generated by the FBU pertained to vigilance and corruption matters, while “political intelligence” and other issues accounted for around 40 percent.