[Excise Policy Scam] 'AAP Will Be Formally Charged': ED To Delhi High Court In Manish Sisodia's Bail Plea

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Manish Sisodia is accused of granting over 300 crore rupees in undue benefits to liquor wholesalers, who allegedly returned the favor with kickbacks and bribes

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), through Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Zoheb Hussain, informed the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be formally charged in the case related to the liquor excise policy case.

The bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved judgments in both the bail applications filed by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. 

Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing Manish Sisodia, underscored several key contentions during the proceedings. He highlighted that the case was still in the preliminary stage, scrutinizing documents, with the actual trial yet to commence.

Senior Advocate Krishnan clarified that a trial officially begins when charges are framed, which hasn't happened in this instance. Unlike typical proceedings where charges might be framed against one of the accused, in this case, charges have not been framed against anyone. He pointed out that the investigation is ongoing, with arrests still taking place, indicating that the case is far from being ready for trial.

Senior Advocate Krishnan highlighted that both the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have filed a sixth prosecution complaint, indicating a continued active investigation. He questioned the feasibility of disposing of the trial within six months, as previously suggested before the Supreme Court, given that the investigation is still ongoing.

Senior Advocate Krishnan expressed concern about the trial court's apparent predisposition to dismiss the plea, suggesting bias in the judicial process. He brought attention to the conduct of the ED, which he alleges is actively attempting to delay the trial, further complicating the legal proceedings.

Lastly, Senior Advocate Krishnan pointed out discrepancies regarding the chargesheets, noting that they haven't received documents related to the fifth chargesheet, yet the ED has already filed a sixth chargesheet.

SPP Hussain contended that the trial court, being directly involved, is in the best position to determine whether there's been any delay in the proceedings. He highlighted the numerous applications filed by accused individuals, suggesting a pattern of delaying tactics, particularly noting the involvement of a political party in the case. 

SPP Hossain further mentioned the extensive petitions filed despite a relatively small number of arrests, indicating a potential strategy to prolong the legal process. Additionally, he pointed out the close connection between a party spokesperson and one of the accused, raising questions about the sincerity of claims regarding document inspection.  

Case Title: Manish Sisodia v ED (Bail Application1557/2024)