Delhi High Court rejects Manish Sisodia’s bail plea in excise policy case

Judge says former Deputy CM was a powerful and influential person and possibility of indulging in destruction of evidence cannot be ruled out 

Updated - May 22, 2024 07:00 am IST

Published - May 22, 2024 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

No relief from court: Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia

No relief from court: Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia | Photo Credit: File Photo

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the corruption and money-laundering cases lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) respectively in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said Mr. Sisodia has “not been able to make out a case for grant of bail”. The court said, “The case at hand is a grave misuse of power and breach of public trust by the applicant who was serving as Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi at the relevant point.”

The court said, “As a Minister having 18 portfolios, including the Department of Excise, the applicant was entrusted with the formulation of the new liquor policy.”

“However, the material collected during the investigation showed that the applicant subverted the process of framing the excise policy by fabricating public feedback to suit his predetermined goal. The aim was to frame a public policy which benefits select individuals, especially the wholesale distributors,” the court added.

The judge however, said Mr. Sisodia could continue to meet his ailing wife once a week as per the terms and conditions laid down by a trial court in February.

The judge, who started pronouncing the order at 6.28 p.m. said Mr. Sisodia allegedly indulged in the destruction of crucial evidence, including electronic evidence. He was a very powerful and influential person within the corridors of power of the Delhi government, she added.

Custody extended

Earlier on Tuesday, a trial court hearing Mr. Sisodia’s plea challenging the rejection of his bail on April 30, extended his judicial custody till May 31. Special judge (PC Act) Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court noted that an application for postponement of arguments on the charge is pending before the High Court. The trial court also fixed May 30 for further arguments on framing of charges in the case.

The trial court had dismissed Mr. Sisodia’s bail pleas in the corruption and money-laundering cases lodged by the CBI and ED respectively in connection with the alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22. On April 30 the trial court turned down his plea saying the stage is not right for grant of bail.

The AAP leader was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023 for his alleged role in the “scam” and the ED arrested him in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023.

The probe agencies alleged that the beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.

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