Setback for Sisodia as SC Rejects His Bail Pleas in Excise Policy Scam Case

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A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti said tentatively transfer of Rs 338 crore was established in the matter.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Beleaguered former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia on Monday suffered a setback as Supreme Court rejected his regular bail pleas in corruption and money-laundering cases related.

The court said tentatively transfer of Rs 338 crore was established in the matter.

The top court pronounced its verdict on Sisodia’s two separate regular bail pleas filed in cases related to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. It had on October 17 reserved its verdict on both the pleas.

A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti said it has recorded the statements of the probe agencies that the trial in these cases will conclude in six to eight months. But if the trial proceeds in a “sloppy manner”, Sisodia will be at liberty to apply for bail in these cases in three months, the bench said.

“In the analysis, there are certain aspects which we have said are doubtful. But one aspect with regard to the transfer of money Rs 338 crore tentatively is established. We have therefore dismissed the applications for bail.

“We have made one pointed observation that they have said that the trial will conclude in six to eight months. So within three months, if the trial proceeds in a sloppy manner or slowly, he will be entitled to file an application for bail,” Justice Khanna said while pronouncing the verdict.

The bench said that in the verdict it has referred to the arguments and some of the legal questions which arose but were not answered. “Most of them are not answered and if they have been answered, they have been answered in a very limited way,” Justice Khanna said.

Sisodia was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 for his alleged role in the “scam”. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been in custody since then.

The ED arrested Sisodia in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9 after questioning him in Tihar jail. Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28.

The high court denied him bail in the CBI case on May 30, saying having been the deputy chief minister and excise minister, he is a “high-profile” person who has the potential to influence the witnesses.

On July 3, the high court declined him bail in the money-laundering case, holding that the charges against him are “very serious in nature”.

The Delhi government had implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption. According to the investigating agencies, the profit margins of wholesalers were increased from 5 per cent to 12 per cent under the new policy.

The agencies have alleged that the new policy resulted in cartelisation and those ineligible for liquor licences were favoured for monetary benefits. However, the Delhi government and Sisodia have denied any wrongdoing and said the new policy would have led to an increase in Delhi’s revenue share. — With inputs from PTI

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