BREAKING| [Liquor Policy Scam] Delhi Court dismisses Former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s bail plea in CBI case

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Court, on March 24, had reserved order in the bail plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Leader Manish Sisodia in CBI case in connection with the "Delhi Liquor Scam".

Special Judge MK Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi on Friday “dismissed” the bail plea filed by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia in a case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with Delhi liquor scam case. 

It is to be noted that the court had reserved orders in the case on March 24.

Opposing the bail plea, Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh had earlier contended“If Sisodia is released on bail it will scuttle our entire investigation as he is an influential person and can easily destroy documentary evidence that we (CBI) are collecting”. He had argued that Sisodia may not be a flight risk but he “definitely is a risk to the evidence”.

SPP had also stated that from March 14 to 17, 2021, the "South Group" (a group of individuals) was residing in the Oberoi Hotel, Delhi, they had prepared a note and taken the printout from Sisodia’s computer. 

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) allegedly received kickbacks of Rs. 100 crore from the South Group. The group allegedly paid bribes to exploit the loopholes in the excise policy that would secure their uninhibited access to various wholesale businesses and retail zones in violation of rules.

SPP had added that 36 paged photocopy was taken, and a car was booked to the Oberoi Maidens, which is close to the office of Vijay Nair. He further stated that during the peak of Covid-19, the "South group" by a chartered plane reached Delhi for meetings and stayed in Hotels, and all of this was clearly stated in one of the accused person's chats.

Singh had submitted that while the government was planning to change the excise policy of Delhi, the private players took three legal opinions from Mukul Rohatgi, former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and KG Balakrishnan, these opinions advocated the status quo.

Conclusively, Singh had concluded “I have 6 days to complete my chargesheet, I have already exhausted 24/25 days. If Sisodia comes out, it will go to waste. The investigation is ongoing. And now that he (Sisodia) knows what has been put to him, it will jeopardize our investigation”. “Influence is writ large, we have only 36 more days when we file the chargesheet, the court may consider whether he(Sisodia) requires further incarceration or not”, he had added.

On behalf of Sisodia, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan had submitted, “I have complied with the notices issued to me. I've joined the investigation. Requirements of custodial interrogation no longer survive as this stage is already crossed. The offences are punishable for up to 7 years and there is nothing material to show that I can influence the witnesses”.

“I (Sisodia) have deep roots in the society. I am not at flight risk. I joined the investigation when the CBI called me. I am a public servant, and two more public servants were made accused in the present case, allegations against them are far grave than mine, but they’re sent with arrest”, Krishnan had added.

The senior counsel had also contended that there is no likelihood of the trial coming to an end any time soon. He had stated the medical condition of Sisodia’s wife and submitted that she is suffering from multiple sclerosis for the past 20 years and it cannot be cured. He had also stated that she doesn’t have anybody else other than him and that their son is also not in India, and he had last year joined college.

Notably, 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 are available" to Sisodia.

On February 27, a Delhi court remanded Sisodia to CBI's custody till March 4. The CBI judge had allowed CBI's request after Sisodia was arrested on Sunday after an interrogation of more than 8 hours. 

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.

It is to be noted that Sisodia was also arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on March 9 evening, in connection with the Delhi Liquor scam case. His bail ples in the ED case is listed for hearing on March 25. 

Case Title: Manish Sisodia v. CBI 

Statue: The Code of Criminal Procedure