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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Excise policy case: Delhi HC grants more time to ED and CBI to respond to Manish Sisodia's bail pleas

The high court dictated its order saying, 'Respondents seek more time to file a reply. It is stated that the ED is in the process of filing another prosecution complaint in relation to a co-accused in the case'

PTI New Delhi Published 08.05.24, 12:49 PM
Manish Sisodia

Manish Sisodia File

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted more time to the ED and the CBI to file their replies to former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's pleas seeking bail in the corruption and money-laundering cases lodged by the agencies in relation to the alleged excise policy scam.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who had on May 3 issued notices to the two agencies asking them to file their replies to the pleas and listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday, was informed by the counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that they need some more time to respond.

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The request made by the agencies’ lawyers was opposed by Sisodia’s counsel who said he has been incarcerated and the ED and the CBI had assured the Supreme Court that the trial will be completed in six months.

The high court dictated its order saying, “Respondents seek more time to file a reply. It is stated that the ED is in the process of filing another prosecution complaint in relation to a co-accused in the case”.

“Irrespective of that, the accused is in custody, and four more days are granted to the respondents to file their replies. The reply be placed on court record by Monday and an advance copy is also supplied to the other side by Monday,” the court further said and listed the matter for hearing on May 14.

At the outset, the ED’s counsel submitted that he had filed an application seeking one week to file its reply to the petition.

He said the investigating officer is "neck-deep" in the investigation and they are also in the process of filing a supplementary prosecution complaint (charge sheet) in the case. He said the officers were also busy in the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court.

The counsel for the CBI also urged the court to grant a week for the agency to file a reply.

In the high court, Sisodia challenged a trial court’s April 30 order by which his bail petitions were dismissed on the ground that the stage was not right for granting bail to Sisodia.

The high court had continued the interim relief earlier granted to Sisodia by the trial court to meet his ailing wife once a week in custody during the pendency of the pleas.

The trial court dismissed Sisodia's bail pleas in the corruption and money-laundering cases lodged by the CBI and ED respectively in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

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

According to the CBI and ED, which are probing the cases against Sisodia, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours extended to the licence holders.

In the April 30 order, the special judge denied the relief, saying the stage was not right for granting bail to Sisodia.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, for his alleged role in the "scam". The ED arrested the former deputy chief minister in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023.

Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023.

The high court had dismissed Sisodia's bail pleas in the CBI and the ED cases on May 30 and July 3 last year.

On October 30, 2023, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the high court's order, saying the allegation levelled by the probe agencies that "windfall gains" of Rs 338 crore were made by a few wholesale liquor distributors was "tentatively supported" by material and evidence.

The Delhi government implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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