Court dismisses bail plea of Manish Sisodia for second time

DN Bureau

The Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday dismissed the second bail petition of AAP leader Manish Sisodia in both CBI and ED cases on the Delhi excise policy case. Read further on Dynamite News:

AAP Leader Manish Sisodia
AAP Leader Manish Sisodia

New Delhi: The Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday dismissed the second bail petition of AAP leader Manish Sisodia in both CBI and ED cases on the Delhi excise policy case.

He had sought regular bail in ED and CBI cases on the grounds of delay in trial. This is the second time when his bail plea has been dismissed by the court. His first bail plea in the CBI case was rejected on March 31, 2023. On April 28, the trial court rejected his bail application in the ED case.

Special judge Kaveri Baweja dismissed the bail plea of Manish Sisodia after considering the submissions and material on record. The detailed bail order is yet to be uploaded.

Sisodia has been in custody since 26 February 2023 after arrest by the CBI. Thereafter, he was arrested by the CBI. On April 20, the court reserved an order for the regular bail pleas of Manish Sisodia.

He sought regular bail in CBI and ED cases related to the Delhi excise policy case. While opposing the bail plea the CBI said that while rejecting his bail, the court had made certain observations. His bail was also dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Advocate Vivek Jain appeared for Manish Sisodia, Zoheb Hossain for ED, Pankaj Gupta for the CBI. CBI's Prosecutor Pankaj Gupta while opposing the bail said that Sisodia is the main accused in the case, he is not entitled to bail.

He further said that the accused is a powerful political person. The investigation is at the nascent stage. It was further submitted that there are allegations of destruction of evidence and misuse of power which may hamper the probe.

Pankaj Gupta referred to former PM Manmohan Singh who said that corruption is cancer for the society.

On April 6, While opposing the plea the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said that there was no delay caused on the part of the Prosecution. Rather it was caused by the accused persons by filing frivolous applications in the Delhi excise policy case, the ED said before the Rouse Avenue court.

The main thrust of arguments by counsel for Manish Sisodia was the delay in trial. It was argued that trial proceedings are going at a snail's pace.

ED's special counsel Zoheb Hossain opposed the argument of delay. Hossain submitted that the trial has not proceeded at a snail's pace and there has been no delay from the prosecution side.

There are 95 applications moved by 31 accused persons, Hossain argued. "There is a delay by the accused persons and not by the Prosecution," Hossain Submitted.

Hossain further said that the delay is partly due to this accused and partly to other co-accused persons. ED's counsel also argued that the delay cannot be the sole ground for bail. The rigours of Section 45 PMLA always be considered while granting bail in PMLA.

Zoheb Hossain also referred to the bail order of Binoy Babu. He said that Binoy Babh was granted bail as he was a prosecution witness in a CBI case. No money was paid to him or by him. He suffered 13 months' incarceration. He was the regional manager of Pernod Ricard.

It was also argued by the ED that the entire offence of Money laundering could not have been possible without the present accused (Sisodia). Special Counsel referred to the February 7, 2023 order and said that frivolous applications were kept filing by other accused persons which consumed time.

"Applications moved by one or another accused person show that there was a concerted effort to ensure that the trial is delayed," Hossain argued.

Hossain also referred to the March 7 order and said that the inspection is going on in a most lackadaisical manner.

Special Counsel also referred to the Supreme Court's Judgement (in Sisodia's case) wherein it said that the bail application has to be considered by the trial court without being influenced by the observations in the judgement except the observations on the right to speedy trial.

Zoheb Hossain submitted that the trial is not at a snail's pace while allowing the 95 applications, and the inspection. Delay can't be the sole ground for bail.

The ground of delay was not accepted and bail of another accused was dismissed on this ground, Hossain said. The point of delay will be a weighty factor for this court, Hossain added.

Hossain submitted that Sisodia and the other accused received Rs 100 crores from South groups.

ED's counsel said that Sisodia is responsible for a policy drafted by many accused persons with the sole purpose of establishing laundered proceeds of crime and increasing the wholesale profit from 5 to 12 per cent.

The margin difference is the proceed of crime Rs 338 crores would be the proceed of crime during the subsistence of policy, he added.

Special Counsel Hossain said, "The kickback alone is not the proceeds of crime in this case. Wholesale profits are the proceeds of crime because it was derived from the criminal activity. Entire wholesale profit, which is a difference between 12 and 5 per cent, which is 338 crores would be the proceeds of crime."

Hossain also mentioned the role of Vijay Nair and said that he is not an ordinary worker of AAP but is a close associate of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and closely interacting with Sisodia.

Hossain said that Benoy Babu in his statement stated that Nair was representing OSD to the Delhi excise department. Hossain referred to a WhatsApp chat between Vijay Nair and Benoy Babu.

Hossain submitted that Vijay Nair had nothing to do with the excise policy. He held the position of media coordinator. But he was used to doing billing and change of policy, bargaining the bribe money etc.

It was also argued by the ED that there was a political understanding between K Kavitha and Chief Minister Kejriwal and Deputy CM. In terms of that understanding, Kavitha met Nair.

They (Nair and Sisodia) were having secret meetings that increased during the process of formation of liquor policy. Vijay Nair was acting under the instructions of the accused and other political leaders, Hossain argued.

ED's counsel submitted that the accused of money laundering need not be accused of predicate offence. But this is not the case here. Even mere generation of proceeds of crime would attract the offence of money laundering, SC judgement referred to.

Hossain also submitted that the Expert committee report was rejected. The email was planted to give a facade of public impression. ED counsel also submitted that there is a destruction of evidence in this case. 170 mobile were changed or destroyed by accused persons. (ANI)

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