Senior Indian opposition official arrested in graft probe
Indian federal investigators on Sunday arrested the Delhi capital territory's second highest-ranking official over corruption allegations, prompting claims of political interference from his up-and-coming opposition party.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is seeking to establish itself as the main opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has already won control of Punjab state and the capital region Delhi.
Manish Sisodia, Delhi's deputy chief minister and seen as party leader Arvind Kejriwal's right hand man, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after almost eight hours of questioning.
In a statement, the CBI said Sisodia was arrested in connection with an investigation into Delhi's liquor regulations.
"He gave evasive replies and did not co-operate (with) the investigation despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary," they said. "Therefore, he has been arrested."
The arrest comes months after the Enforcement Directorate, India's federal financial crime agency, raided several liquor agencies over alleged irregularities in the Delhi government's now-withdrawn excise policy.
The AAP, which has been anticipating Sisodia's arrest, said the move was due to "political rivalry" and that it was a "fake case".
"Black day for democracy," the party's Delhi office tweeted after the arrest.
The Aam Aadmi Party, formed around a decade ago, is looking to displace the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's Congress -- whose electoral support has been declining for decades -- as the main opposition to the dominant BJP.
Kejriwal, also Delhi's chief minister, said his deputy was innocent and the arrest was "dirty politics."
"There is a lot of anger among people because of Manish's arrest. People are watching everything. People will respond to this," Kejriwal tweeted.
"This will boost our spirit. Our struggle will get stronger."