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Delhi: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, top AAP leaders protest outside CBI office over Kejriwal's questioning

New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and other top Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders sat on a protest outside the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in the national capital on Sunday against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's questioning by the probe agency in the liquor policy case.
AAP top brass Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and others joined the protest outside the CBI office. Delhi Minister Atishi attacked the BJP-led Centre claiming it was scared of the growing popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared of the growing popularity of Arvind Kejriwal. This is the reason why the leaders of AAP are being put in jail. This is the reason Arvind Kejriwal has been called for questioning by CBI. They say that it is a scam of thousands of crores but till now they have not been able to prove that even a single rupee was embezzled. The entire country is with Arvind Kejriwal," Atishi told ANI.
Meanwhile, AAP workers staged protests across the national capital against CBI's questioning Kejriwal.
Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said Delhi Police arrested more than 1,500 people protesting in support of Arvind Kejriwal. Out of these 1,379 people have been kept in different police stations and others were being taken in buses, Rai said in a tweet.
Earlier on Sunday, several AAP workers were detained by Delhi Police in Kashmiri Gate area.
Kejriwal on Sunday arrived at the CBI office in the national capital for questioning in connection with the excise policy case.
Kejriwal was accompanied by his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Maan, Delhi ministers and AAP MPs to the CBI office.
"I will answer all the questions. BJP leaders are talking about it (my arrest). The CBI is controlled by BJP," Kejriwal told reporters outside the CBI office.
Ahead of appearing before the CBI, the Delhi chief minister paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial, Rajghat, in the national capital.
The AAP national convenor attacked the Centre saying some anti-national forces do not want India to develop.
"Some anti-national forces do not want India to develop. I want to tell these forces that the country will continue to progress," Kejriwal told reporters before leaving his residence.
Earlier on Sunday, Kejriwal held a high-level meeting with top leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday ahead of joining. The meeting was held at Kejriwal's residence.
Several Delhi ministers, including Atishi, Kailash Gahlot, Rajkumar Anand, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain, were present at the meeting. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Maan and Punjab Assembly speaker Sardar Kultar Singh Sandhwan also attended the meeting. AAP MPs Raghav Chadha, ND Gupta and Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel were also present at the meeting in Kejriwal's residence.
According to sources, the meeting was called to discuss the next course of action after Kejriwal's questioning by the CBI on Sunday.
The Delhi CM said the central agency will arrest him if the BJP government has given the orders.
In a video message released on Sunday morning, Kejriwal said, "They (CBI) have called me today and I will definitely go. They are very powerful, they can send anyone to jail. If BJP has ordered CBI to arrest me, then CBI will obviously follow their instructions."
He further said, "You (BJP) say that I am corrupt. I was a Commissioner in the Income Tax department, I could have earned crores if I wanted to. If Arvind Kejriwal is corrupt then there is no one in this world who is honest."
In a major development in the Delhi excise policy case, the CBI summoned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning in connection with the liquor policy case on Sunday.
Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, a key aide of Kejriwal, is in jail over alleged irregularities in the excise case.
Sisodia was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI in the ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy in Delhi.
The CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26. Later on March 9, the ED arrested him, after hours of questioning at Tihar Jail.
The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval.
The beneficiaries diverted "illegal" gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their account books to evade detection, the probe agencies said. (ANI)

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