Excise policy case: Delhi HC grants more time to ED, CBI to file reply on Manish Sisodia's bail petitions

DN Bureau

The Delhi HC on Wednesday granted more time to the ED and CBI to file their replies to the bail pleas filed by former Deputy CM and AAP leader Manish Sisodia, challenging the trial court order refusing him bail in the excise policy case. Read further on Dynamite News:

Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted more time to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file their replies to the bail pleas filed by former Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia, challenging the trial court order refusing him bail in the excise policy case.

The bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma fixed May 13 for a detailed hearing in the matter while allowing investigation agencies more time to file responses in the matter.

Appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, Advocate Zoheb Hossain sought more time to file a reply in the matter and informed the court that the investigation officer was in the middle of filing another supplementary prosecution complaint in the case.

The bench recently issued notice to both agencies and sought their replies in the matter. The court on the last date of the hearing also allowed applicant Manish Sisodia to continue to meet his ailing wife under custody once a week.

The court noted that in trial court on February 5, applicant Sisodia was allowed to meet his ailing wife at his residence once a week under custody. However, with the dismissal order of the trial court, applications regarding weekly visits with the wife came to halt for Sisodia.

On April 30, the Rouse Avenue Court dismissed the bail petitions of Sisodia for the second time in the case and said, "This court is not inclined to admit the applicant to bail, either regular or interim, at this stage. The application under consideration is accordingly dismissed,"

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja said, "It is apparent that the applicant individually, and along with different accused have been filing one or the other application /making oral submissions frequently, some of them frivolous, that too on a piecemeal basis, apparently as a concerted effort for accomplishing the shared purpose of causing delay in the matter."

The court also added that the period of incarceration of Benoy Babu and that of the applicant (Manish Sisodia) cannot be equated, particularly in view of the findings in the preceding paragraphs of this order that the applicant himself has attributed to the slow pace of the proceedings of the case.

Sisodia has been in custody since February 26, 2023, after arrest by the CBI. Thereafter, he was arrested by the ED. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BRS Leader K Kavitha were also arrested in the excise policy case.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval.

The beneficiaries diverted "illegal" gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection, the probe agencies said.

As per the allegations, the excise department had decided to refund the earnest money deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules.

Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19, the probe agency said, adding that there was an alleged loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer. (ANI)

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