The preparation of the Delhi government’s budget for the next financial year is likely to be affected following the arrest of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, sources said on Monday.
The finance department is still in the process of finalising the budgetary allocations.
“Various departments have sent their budget estimates, revenue utilised this year. The budget is not yet finalised. The allocations to various departments are still being finalised,” an official said.
There were plans to present the budget around the second week of March but it might be pushed to the third or fourth week. However, it has to be presented before April 1, when the new financial year starts.
Before Sisodia’s questioning by the CBI in the excise policy case, the deputy chief minister held a series of budget-related meetings, with Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot also being a part of them.
Sources in the Aam Aadmi Party said Gahlot may present the Delhi government budget this time.
“As there was a possibility that the deputy chief minister may be arrested by the CBI, Gahlot was attending budget-related meetings for the last few days. Gahlot is likely to present the 2023-24 budget. It is scheduled to be presented next month. If Sisodia gets bail, he will present the budget but if he doesn’t, Gahlot might do it,” an AAP functionary told PTI.
Sisodia was originally summoned by the CBI last Sunday but he sought deferment of his questioning citing the ongoing Budget exercise, following which, the CBI had asked him to appear on February 26.
He was arrested on Monday and remanded to five-day CBI custody the next day.
The Arvind Kejriwal government is staring at a possible crisis with the CBI arresting Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who holds as many as 18 of the total 33 departments, including education, finance and home.
The arrest of Sisodia comes after that of Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s the then health minister, in June last year. Both have led what the Aam Aadmi Party describes as the successful transformation of Delhi’s education and health services, contributing to the party’s popularity and continued electoral success.
Their absence leaves Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with no heavyweight lieutenant to implement his governance agenda in Delhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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