New Delhi [India]: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj were sworn in as Ministers in the Delhi cabinet on Thursday.
The swearing-in ceremony took place in the Auditorium at Raj Niwas, Delhi. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena administered the oath to newly inducted ministers.
“In terms of the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj have been appointed as Ministers in the National Capital Territory of Delhi,” read the official statement from the General Administration Department.
This comes after President Droupadi Murmu Tuesday accepted the resignations of former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Minister Satyendar Jain, both currently lodged in Tihar jail in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.
President Murmu on Tuesday appointed Atishi and Bharadwaj as ministers in the Delhi cabinet on the advice of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, with effect from the date they are sworn in, stated Ministry of Home Affairs.
Kejriwal had forwarded the names to the Lieutenant Governor for their appointment to the Cabinet.
Atishi represents the Kalkaji constituency and has been a key member of Sisodia’s education team.
She had also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the East Delhi constituency and lost to BJP’s Gautam Gambhir.
Bharadwaj, the party’s national spokesperson, had served the Delhi Jal Board as its vice chairman. The legislator from Greater Kailash was also a minister during the first stint of the AAP government.
The Delhi council of ministers now has a strength of five, including CM Arvind Kejriwal, who does not hold any portfolios.
Sisodia had resigned from his all 18 posts following his arrest in the alleged excise policy scam.
After former Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain’s arrest last year, seven portfolios handled by him were shifted to Sisodia, who was looking after 18 departments when he was arrested.
He is now lodged in Tihar’s jail after Rouse Avenue Court on Monday sent him to judicial custody till March 20.
The excise policy was passed in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
The Delhi government’s version is that the policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.
The CBI had filed a case against alleged corruption in the 2021-22 excise policy. The excise policy was subsequently withdrawn by the AAP government.
Sisodia was among 15 others booked in an FIR filed by the CBI. Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers, some unknown public servants and private persons were booked in the case.
It was alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in the Excise Policy and undue favours were extended to the license holders including waiver or reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 license without approval etc.