Liquor Policy: Delhi HC grants further time to ED, CBI to respond to Manish Sisodia’s bail pleas

- May 8, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, for his alleged role in the "scam". The ED arrested the former deputy chief minister in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023

Manish Sisodia

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) additional time to respond to former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s bail pleas in relation to corruption and money-laundering cases linked to the alleged excise policy scam.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who previously instructed the agencies to submit their replies by May 3, was informed by the ED and CBI’s legal representatives that they required more time to prepare their responses.

Sisodia’s counsel opposed the request, highlighting his client’s detention and citing previous assurances by the ED and CBI to the Supreme Court regarding the expedited trial.

The court granted the agencies a four-day extension, acknowledging the ED’s ongoing prosecution process concerning a co-accused in the case. The deadline for filing replies was set for Monday, with both sides instructed to exchange advance copies by then. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on May 14.

The ED’s counsel mentioned an application seeking an additional week to respond, citing the complexity of the investigation and imminent supplementary prosecution filings. The CBI’s legal representative similarly requested a one-week extension for the agency to prepare its reply.

Sisodia had contested a trial court’s decision on April 30 denying his bail petitions, which cited the inappropriateness of granting bail at that stage. The high court upheld the interim relief allowing Sisodia to visit his ailing wife weekly while in custody.

The charges against Sisodia stem from alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the Delhi excise policy for 2021-22. The probe agencies allege that gains obtained through these irregularities were illicitly diverted to the accused officials, with falsified entries made to conceal them.

Sisodia, a leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, and subsequently by the ED on March 9, 2023. He resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023.

Earlier bail pleas by Sisodia were dismissed by the high court in May and July of the previous year. The Supreme Court declined to intervene on October 30, 2023, stating that the agencies’ allegations of significant financial gains by certain liquor distributors were tentatively supported by evidence.

The Delhi government implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but terminated it by the end of September 2022 amidst corruption allegations. (With inputs from PTI)