Liquor scam: Delhi HC seeks ED's response in Vijay Nair's 'default bail plea'

On July 29, Special Judge MK Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Court had 'denied default bail' to Nair in the excise policy scam case which is now challenged before the High Court.
Delhi High Court (File Photo | PTI)
Delhi High Court (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the 'default bail plea' moved by former Aam Aadmi Party communication overseer Vijay Nair in a money laundering case connected to the Delhi excise policy scam case.

On the same day, Rouse Avenue Court in the national capital heard arguments on the interim bail application of Nair and put up for its order on Friday.

As the 'default bail plea' moved before Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, notice was issued to ED seeking a response to the application. The matter will be further heard on September 6.

Appearing for Nair, Senior Advocate Rebecca John, submitted that bail is an important right, where the liberty of an individual is involved.

She said the chargesheet filed before the Special Judge is piecemeal and that the ED is continuously filling supplementary chargesheets in the matter. "Therefore, the petitioner is entitled to be admitted to the statutory bail", it was argued.

Appearing for ED, Special Public Prosecutor Zoheb Hossain opposed the plea saying, earlier on May 1, 2023, the application was moved for the grant of default bail, which was allowed to be withdrawn with the liberty to move a fresh bail application seeking default bail.

Notably, the trial court on July 29 'denied default bail' to Nair in the excise policy scam case.

On July 29, Special Judge MK Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Court had 'denied default bail' to Nair in the excise policy scam case which is now challenged before the high court.

The trial court, in the order, had said: "In view of factual and legal discussion, it is held that this court is not competent or the appropriate forum to consider the ground for default bail.."

While arguing on the bail application, Nair's counsel had contended before the trial court that the supplementary prosecution complaint (charge sheet) was filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) within the statutory period of 60 days of arrest but without actual completion of the investigation with regard to him.

Earlier, the High Court had on July 3 refused to grant bail to Nair and other co-accused in the money laundering case, including former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR which was lodged after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the new excise policy in 2021 which was later scrapped.

The CBI has alleged that Nair met the other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors at various hotels in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging "ill-gotten money through hawala operators"

CBI alleged that at the formulation of the excise policy in the city, huge amounts of money were paid as kickbacks against public servants involved in the liquor trade. Around Rs. 20-30 crores were allegedly paid to Nair, Sisodia, some other persons of the Delhi government and some liquor businessmen from South India.

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