‘Abuse of public authority’: Delhi HC junks bail petition of Sisodia in liquor case

Former Deputy CM’s judicial custody in exicse case has been extended till May 30
AAP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
AAP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: In a major setback to AAP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected his bail plea in the excise policy case. The court noted that his conduct was amount to “great betrayal of democratic principles”.

“The case exemplifies grave abuse of public authority by Sisodia. The prosecution establishes, prima facie, a case of money laundering (against Sisodia) under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him,” said Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma in her order.

Castigating the AAP leader for framing a policy to enrich private persons, the HC said, “Sisodia used deceptive methods to show that the Delhi excise policy had public support but, in reality, the policy was framed to enrich a few individuals. This constitutes a form of corruption.” Sisodia had sought bail in cases being investigated by the CBI and ED in Delhi liquor case.

This was the second bail plea moved by Sisodia, who has been in custody since February 26, 2023, after his arrest by the CBI. Thereafter, he was arrested by the ED on March 9, 2023. While rejecting his bail, Justice Sharma said the case involves great misuse of power and breach of public trust by Sisodia. Referring to Sisodia’s alleged work of damaging of 2 of his mobile phones, the HC observed that he indulged in acts of destruction of crucial evidence, including electronic evidence in this regard.

Taking into record the fact that Sisodia was holding an important position in the government and handling multiple portfolios and that he being a senior leader of AAP is an influential person, the HC rejected his bail.

“This court is of the opinion that petitioner (Sisodia) has not been able to make out a case for grant of bail in his favour,” the HC said.

Sisodia told the HC that both probe agencies were still arresting people in the PMLA and corruption case and there is no question of early conclusion of the trial. Meanwhie, in a similar development, on Tuesday, Sisodia’s judicial custody was extended till May 30. He had moved the court challenging the Rouse Avenue Court order.

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