Delhi’s rouse avenue court allowed Enforcement Directorate (ED) to have 5 days custody of former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia. Mr. Sisodia was arrested by the ED on March 9 while he was in judicial custody at Tihar Jail. The matter pertains to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.
Special Judge M.K. Nagpal ordered ED to produce Mr. Sisodia in court on March 22. His bail hearing of the CBI case in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi liquor or excise policy for 2021-22, is scheduled for March 21.
The CBI had arrested Mr. Sisodia on February 26.
During the hearing on Friday, advocate for the ED, Zoheb Hossain told the court that the agency had been able to make some fresh findings against Mr. Sisodia. He also repeated what was told previously in court that the AAP leader had changed his mobile phone on various occasions in the past, but the new finding was that he changed one of his phones on the very same day the Lieutenant-Governor forwarded the complaint against him to the CBI.
“Investigation reveals that he was using a mobile phone for nearly 8 months but it was changed on July 22, 2022, the same day when L-G forwarded the complaint to CBI,” ED counsel told the court and added that through the mobile, evidence was tampered with.
The counsel for the ED also maintained that the ED was in the process of recovering several mails that were in the damaged phone.
Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for Mr. Sisodia made a point that both the ED and the CBI were saying the same things in court but there was evidence for the proceeds of the crime.
“The ED cannot be a proxy for the CBI,” Mr. Mathur added.
Mr. Sisodia also spoke at the court on Friday and maintained that he was being mentally harassed by the Central agency.
“They interrogate me for 30 minutes and then take a break. There is no questioning happening in the first half of the day and all the interrogation of 30 minutes to 1 hour happens in the second half. Yesterday I asked them to question me and finish.” Mr. Sisodia said.
“In the CBI case they are saying mental harassment is happening because he is being questioned for long hours,” Mr. Hossain responded to the AAP leader’s remark.
Also read: Probe agencies have no evidence against Sisodia only 'fabricated' stories: Raghav Chadha
The ED’s money laundering probe is based on a case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 17 against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and others. It has carried out 171 search operations in several States and arrested Mr. Mahendru, P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, Benoy Babu, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and several others in connection with the case.
“Generate illegal funds”
Based on the findings, the agency has alleged that the Expert Committee’s recommendations for the Excise Policy 2021-22 were modified as part of a conspiracy to “generate illegal funds”.
“The policy was formulated with deliberate loopholes, inbuilt mechanism to facilitate illegal activities and is marred with inconsistencies. It promoted cartel formations through back door, awarded exorbitant wholesale (12%) and huge retail profit margin of 185% and incentivised other illegal activities. The 12% profit margin to wholesalers was devised to extract a portion of it (about 6%) as a kickback to AAP leaders,” it alleged. The purported kickbacks were paid in advance.