[Excise Policy Scam] Manish Sisodia moves High Court challenging trial court’s order in ED Case; notice issued

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Sisodia has moved the High Court challenging the trial court's order denying him regular bail. He has also sought interim bail in the case registered by the ED, citing the ill health of his wife. The plea is listed for consideration on May 11, 2023.

Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court’s order denying him bail in the case registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan appearing for Sisiodia submitted, “This is the ED case. We have moved a regular bail plea”.

Additionally, Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur for Sisodia submitted, “We have also moved an interim bail application in the ED case, on the ground of illness of wife”.

The bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma noted that the petitioner had assailed the trial court order dated April 28, 2023, passed by the Special Judge, dismissing the bail application.

“Issue Notice. Learned Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Zoheb Hossain accepts notice. List the matter for further consideration on May 11”, the court ordered.

Notably, on April 28, Special Judge MK Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi "dismissed" Sisodia’s bail plea in ED’s case in connection with the Delhi liquor scam case. 

While denying bail, the court had stated that it appeared that Manish Sisodia was responsible for changing the GoM (group of ministers) report unilaterally to suit the requirements of the South lobby as the draft GoM report was also alleged to had been shared with members of the South lobby staying in Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi during the relevant period.

“Manish Sisodia was not only an architect of above criminal conspiracy, but also the brain behind insertion of clauses of 12% profit margin for wholesalers and of enhancement of eligibility criteria for wholesalers from Rs. 100 crores to Rs. 500 crores”, the court had observed.

Furthermore, the court had stated, “It also appears that Sisodia was responsible for keeping profit margin for retailers on a higher side i.e.185%. It also emerges that all this was done without any discussion and due deliberations in the meetings of GoM& even the concerned department of excise was not taken into confidence before doing it and no records, report or data etc. was gathered or called from the said dept. before introducing the clauses in the GoM (Group of Ministers) report, which ultimately came to be incorporated in excise policy of the government”.

"Serious nature of allegations made and role played by Manish Sisodia in the above criminal conspiracy, his connection with the activities relating to generation or acquisition and use etc. of the above proceeds of crime within the meaning of Section 3 of the PMLA & the evidences collected in support of the same", the court had noted.

The court had opined that even if the rigors and restrictions contained U/S 45 of the PMLA are viewed and construed reasonably, the prosecution has still been able to show a genuine and prima facie case for involvement of Sisodia in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering.

"Hence, this court is not inclined to grant bail to Sisodia in this case of economic offences having serious repercussions upon the general public and society at large as the evidence collected during investigation speaks volumes of his involvement in commission of the said offence. Therefore, the present bail application of accused Manish Sisodia is being dismissed", the court had held.

It is to be noted that yesterday, Sisodia moved an ‘interim bail plea’ citing his wife’s medical condition in the case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam.

Case Title: Manish Sisodia v. Directorate of Enforcement