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Delhi High Court denies bail to AAP leader Manish Sisodia in CBI's case related to excise policy scam

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma denied the relief to the AAP leader, who was arrested on February 26, saying the allegations against him are very serious in nature

PTI New Delhi Published 30.05.23, 11:01 AM
Manish Sisodia

Manish Sisodia File picture

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the bail plea of former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the excise policy scam being probed by the CBI, saying he is an influential man and the allegations against him are "very serious" in nature.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma denied the relief to the AAP leader, who was arrested on February 26, saying he has held the post of the deputy chief minister with 18 portfolios and the possibility of witnesses being influenced cannot be ruled out.


“In view of the discussion made, the allegations are very serious in nature that the excise policy was formed at the instance of the South group with malafide intention to give undue advantage to them. Such an act points towards the misconduct of the applicant who was admittedly a public servant and was holding a very high position,” the high court said.

It said it has neither examined the excise policy in the present proceedings nor the government’s power regarding framing of the economic policy.

It said the court has also not examined the administrative decisions of the government.

“However, since there are serious allegations of misconduct against Sisodia, he being an influential person and having held the position of deputy chief minister with 18 portfolios and the witnesses mostly being public servants, there is a possibility of witnesses being influenced cannot be ruled out,” the high court said. In the facts and circumstances of the case, this court is of the considered view that the petitioner is not entitled to bail, the judge said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Sisodia for alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 following several rounds of questioning. He has challenged the March 31 order of a trial court which had dismissed Sisodia's bail plea in the matter, saying he was "prima facie the architect" of the "scam" and had played the "most important and vital role" in the criminal conspiracy related to alleged payment of advance kickbacks of Rs 90-100 crore meant for him and his colleagues in the Delhi government.

Sisodia, who was arrested on March 9, is currently in judicial custody in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case. His bail plea in the money laundering case was dismissed by the trial court and the challenge is pending before the high court.

Sisodia’s lawyer had said the allegation that he was a recipient of the proceeds of crime was "all in air" and no money trail leading to him has been found.

Sisodia had sought parity for him with the other accused who have got the relief, and claimed that he was not in a position to influence the witnesses in the case or tamper with evidence.

The CBI has opposed his bail plea, saying he was in a position of power and had a political clout.

While opposing the plea, the CBI had said the senior AAP leader controlled various departments, including the excise, and claimed that he wilfully destroyed evidence and mobile phone on the day the present matter was referred by the Lieutenant Governor to the CBI.

The CBI had said that the excise policy was manipulated to favour cartelisation and monopolisation in liquor trade in the national capital, and Sisodia and businessman Vijay Nair were the main conspirators.

While the CBI contended that Sisodia is the “kingpin and architect of the conspiracy” and his influence and clout disentitle him to any parity with the co-accused enlarged on bail, the AAP leader urged the high court to grant him bail claiming no money trail linking him to the proceeds of alleged crime has been found.

The ED is investigating alleged irregularities in the implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy of the Delhi government. The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR.

According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders.

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

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