SC grants bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh in money laundering case

This follows some pointed questions by Supreme Court on why he needs to be in custody after six months have passed
AAP leader Sanjay Singh
AAP leader Sanjay Singh (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

The Supreme Court of India granted bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh on Monday after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) did not oppose an application for bail for the leader.

"We are granting bail to Sanjay Singh. Sanjay Singh is to be released during the pendency of trial. He can continue his political activities," a two-judge bench of the top court, headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, said in his order today.

This followed sharp questions raised by the Supreme Court in the bail hearing case.

The top court asked why Singh was needed in custody and how it will be helpful to have him in custody for so long.

The court, before lunch, asked the ED counsel to come up with a proper, written justification for keeping Sanjay Singh in custody.

Meanwhile, the top court, in its order on Tuesday, directed the accused, Sanjay Singh, not to give any comments, when on bail, about his role or anything related to this particular Delhi liquor scam.

Interestingly, ED opposed tooth and nail similar bail applications of Manish Sisodia. However, in this case, the ED said Singh can be given bail due to 'peculiar circumstances'.

It is believed that ED may have decided to give a no-objection to the bail application to avoid the court from passing an order that would weaken other cases filed against Singh and other AAP leaders. If ED had opposed the bail, and the court still allowed bail for him, the court would have done so while making several observations on the lack of evidence and so on.

In the original allegations, ED had claimed that Singh had taken Rs 2 crore as a kickback in the case. However, the Supreme Court noted that there is no money trail proven in this case.

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Singh, a member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha, has been in jail for six months.

Several Aam Aadmi Party leaders have been imprisoned by the central probing agencies, including the ED and CBI, claiming that they were involved in a case of kickbacks for modifying the excise policy of Delhi.

Somnath Bharti, AAP MLA, said the central government has converted the ED from the Enforcement Directorate to the 'Extortion Directorate', and that today's developments prove that the ED has no evidence against AAP leaders.

On October 20, the Delhi High Court rejected Singh's plea challenging his arrest on the grounds that it was an abuse of the legal process and in violation of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

In January, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Singh's bail plea, saying that the plea was “premature” and the ED investigation into the matter is ongoing. 

As per the probe agency, Singh has been part of the criminal conspiracy of allegedly collecting kickbacks from the liquor groups in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021–22.

The agency further claimed that Singh had a close relationship with liquor businessman Dinesh Arora, a key witness who was earlier accused by the CBI and the ED and later turned approver in the case, since 2017, as revealed by the latter as well as from his call records.

Singh’s associates, Vivek Tyagi, Ajit Tyagi, and Sarvesh Mishra, also had close relations with Dinesh Arora, the ED said.

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