The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came out all guns blazing in defence of a close aide of Delhi Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia after he was arrested in the now scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 case.
Vijay Nair became the first person to be arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case, and AAP leaders claimed that he had no role in drafting the policy. They also alleged that Nair was arrested because he had refused to take the name of Sisodia in the case.
The CBI registered a case on August 17 against Sisodia, Nair and 13 others. The CBI has said in its FIR that Nair was actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the Government of National Capital of Delhi (GNCTD) for the year 2021-22.
AAP leader Atishi Marlena released a video statement and said, “Nair is a party member. He was the in-charge of the social media and communication team during the Delhi and Punjab elections. He had no role in the Delhi government, despite that he was put under arrest.”
She also alleged that Nair was arrested because he is now looking after AAP’s campaign in Gujarat. “BJP is scared of AAP. They are scared that they would lose the elections in Gujarat,” Atishi added.
Meanwhile, AAP also released a statement just hours after Nair’s arrest stating that he is the communication in-charge of AAP. “He was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies in Punjab earlier and Gujarat now. He has nothing to do with the excise policy. Strangely, he has been arrested by the CBI just now in the excise case,” AAP said.
Nair is an ex-CEO of the event management firm – Only Much Louder (OML) – which is known for organising live music festivals and live comedy events like All-India Bakchod (AIB).
He is among the fundraisers for AAP and is known to be the man behind the party’s media and communications strategy.
According to the AAP statement, Nair was called in for questioning in the last few days and was pressured to take the name of Sisodia in the case. When he refused to do that, he was threatened with arrest. The party also said that Nair’s house was raided twice in the last month, but nothing was found.
The party alleged that Nair’s arrest is part of the BJP’s attempt to crush AAP and obstruct its Gujarat campaign.
“The whole country is watching how the BJP is completely rattled by AAP’s growing popularity across India. BJP is unable to digest the rapidly growing vote share of AAP in Gujarat,” the party said.
“We strongly condemn these unconstitutional and illegal methods being adopted by the BJP. All allegations against Vijay Nair and AAP leaders are false and completely baseless,” it added.