Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for the unconditional release of senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia, arrested in the alleged excise scam of Delhi. The move is a shift from the stand of its ally Congress, which had taken a nuanced view, slamming what it called the misuse of central investigating agencies but avoiding any mention of Mr Sisodia. The Congress had also skipped signing the letter on the alleged misuse of Central agencies signed by eight opposition parties.
“I am saddened and disappointed to note that Thiru Manish Sisodia, the elected Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi has been arrested on trumped up allegations and made to undergo all pain and pressure depriving the constitutional guarantee of Personal Liberty. All the canons of criminal justice system have been thrown to the winds and the due process of law has been abused just for personal satisfaction of a ruling party at the Union,” read the letter.
“I therefore appeal to you to take all steps to uphold the residual reputation of the Premier Investigating Agencies and Constitutional offices during the last nine years of BJP rule at the Union, especially the office of the Governor and direct the release of Thiru Manish Sisodia unconditionally, who has been arrested by demeaning the due process of law and fundamental principles of our seven decades old Constitution,” Mr Stalin wrote.
The letter signals a big shift in the stance of the ruling DMK. AAP was not invited for the birthday celebrations of Mr Stalin on March 1, which was attended by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Party leaders, though, said that invites were sent “only to those who were available to join” that day.
On February 28, the DMK had slammed the arrest in a statement issued by senior leader TR Baalu.
“The Union government is purposefully targeting opposition parties by using investigation agencies. It is saddening to see how BJP is using these agencies like its alliance parties. This is not just against democracy but also against the law,” Mr Baalu’s statement read.
“If BJP doesn’t let go of its habit of using CBI and other independent agencies for its political gain, people will give a payback in the upcoming 2024 elections,” it had added.
While the Congress and AAP do not see eye to eye, Mr Stalin and Mr Kejriwal have a good equation. Mr Stalin has visited the model schools and mohalla clinics run by the Delhi government and even invited Mr Kejriwal as the chief guest to launch smart schools.
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