[Delhi Excise Policy Scam] “No evidence of money trail found”: Manish Sisodia's counsel argue before Delhi High Court in CBI case

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AAP leader Manish Sisodia has moved the Delhi High Court against the trial court's order denying him bail in the Central Bureau of Investigation's case related to the Delhi liquor policy scam case. The matter will be next taken up for hearing on April 26.

In the bail plea filed by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia, in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Senior Advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur contended before the Delhi High Court on Thursday that “no evidence of money trail had been found from Sisodia by the CBI”.

Senior Advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur, on behalf of Sisodia submitted before the bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, “All the allegations about me being capable of influencing anyone, etc., is not there at all. All the allegations regarding money are likely to be coming towards me, all that is in the realm of likelihood. There is nothing on paper. Nothing concrete. No money trail has been found”.

Krishnan contended that the agency had alleged that Sisodia did not cooperate in the investigation, which could not be ground for not allowing bail. “I am not required to cooperate, confess, or answer questions in the way they (CBI) want. I am required to answer in the way I want, that is the constitutional guarantee,” he argued.

Additionally, Mathur contended, “They have made me (Manish Sisodia) the chief architect of this alleged conspiracy through Vijay Nair. However, Vijay Nair was arrested in September 2022 and released in November 2022. This was even before the chargesheet was filed. I was only called for questioning for the second time in February 2023. So, all these allegations about me being capable of influencing the witnesses are totally wrong”.

Taking note of the submissions made, the single-judge bench listed the matter for hearing the submissions of CBI on April 26, 2023.

It is to be noted that the court, on April 6, had issued notice to CBI and sought its reply.

Notably, Sisodia’s bail plea in the CBI case was 'dismissed' by Special Judge MK Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi on March 31. While rejecting the bail plea, the court had stated that Sisodia played "the most important and vital role" in the criminal conspiracy, and he had been "deeply involved" in the formulation and implementation of the said policy. The court had reserved orders in the case on March 24.

Earlier, on February 28, a CJI DY Chandrachud-led bench of the Supreme Court dismissed former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia's plea challenging his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an alleged case of corruption relating to liquor excise policy. The bench also comprising Justice PS Narasimha had held that "other efficacious remedies were available" to Sisodia.

It is CBI's case that there were alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy for the year 2021-22.  On February 26, the CBI commenced a second round of questioning after Sisodia was earlier questioned on October 17 last year. Chargesheet in the matter was filed on November 25, 2022.

Case Title: Manish Sisodia v. Central Bureau of Investigation

Statue: The Code of Criminal Procedure