NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses of the CBI and the ED by July 28 on interim bail pleas of AAP leader Manish Sisodia in the alleged multi-crore scam case involving the now-scrapped Delhi Liquor policy.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Bela Trivedi, and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan posted the plea for July 28 to consider granting him interim bail on account of his wife Seema Sisodia’s severe illness.
Justice Khanna during the hearing said that his plea for interim bail could be considered on account of the serious medical condition of his wife (who is hospitalised) and not because of his status.
At the outset, the bench said that normally the court does not interfere with policy decisions but here is a case of making of policy for extraneous reasons.
Seeking bail, Sisodia in his plea before the apex court, said that the charges mentioned in the chargesheet already been filed by the CBI are punishable with imprisonment of less than seven years. He also contended that no proceeds of crime have been traced to him in the probe that has been conducted so far.
On July 10, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud agreed to hear the pleas of the former Delhi deputy chief minister on July 14.
Sisodia, who held the excise portfolio among many that he handled as the deputy chief minister, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 for his alleged role in the "scam" after nearly eight hours of questioning pursuant to an FIR registered against him on August 17, 2022, under section 120B of IPC read with Section 477 IPC and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
On July 3, the high court had declined him bail in the money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the city government's excise policy, holding that the charges against him are "very serious in nature".
He has been in custody since then. The ED arrested him 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 Delhi High Court had denied the AAP leader bail on July 3 in the ED case and on May 30 in the CBI case.
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.
While denying him bail in the CBI case, Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma had termed the allegations of misconduct against him as “serious” and said that the Liquor policy was formed at the behest of the “South Group” with malafide intentions to give undue advantage to them.
In its May 30 order, the high court had said since Sisodia was at the "helm of affairs" when the alleged scam took place, he cannot say he had no role to play.
The high court had said with his party still in power in the national capital, Sisodia, who once held 18 portfolios, continues to wield influence, and since the witnesses are mostly public servants, the possibility of their getting influenced cannot be ruled out.
Additionally, Justice Sharma while denying Sisodia bail in the ED case had said that Sisodia didn’t meet the twin conditions for the grant of bail under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as well as the triple test for the grant of bail.
The judge had also underlined that the special judge’s order was well-reasoned on the basis of material on record and that it didn’t suffer from any illegality or infirmity.
(With additional inputs from online desk)