Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking bail in the CBI and ED cases related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.
He has moved the apex court challenging the two orders of the Delhi High Court dismissing his bail petitions in these cases.
Sisodia, who also held the excise portfolio among many that he handled as the deputy chief minister of Delhi, was first arrested by the CBI on February 26 for his alleged role in the ”scam”, and has been in custody since then. He resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28.
The high court had on May 30 denied bail to him in the excise policy scam case being probed by the CBI, saying having been the deputy chief minister and excise minister, he is a ”high-profile” person who has the potential to influence the witnesses.
On July 3, the high court had declined him bail in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the city government’s excise policy, holding the charges against him were ”very serious in nature”.
In its May 30 order, the high court had said since Sisodia was at the ”helm of affairs” when the alleged scam took place, he cannot say he had no role to play.
The high court had said, with his party still in power in the national capital, Sisodia, who once held 18 portfolios, continues to wield influence, and since the witnesses are mostly public servants, the possibility of their getting influenced cannot be ruled out. Citing the allegations against the senior AAP leader, it had said the excise policy was formed at the instance of the “South Group” with malafide intention to give undue advantage to them.
The so-called South Group comprises politicians, businessmen and others, including BRS leader K Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The CBI had arrested Sisodia for alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 following several rounds of questioning. Sisodia had challenged in the high court the March 31 order of the trial court which had dismissed his bail plea saying he was prima facie the ”architect” of the alleged scam and had played the ”most important and vital role” in the criminal conspiracy related to alleged payment of advance kickbacks of Rs 90-100 crore meant for him and his colleagues in the Delhi government. The ED is also investigating the money laundering case against the AAP leader that stems from the CBI FIR.
According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders.
The Delhi government implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
Sisodia was arrested by the ED in connection with the money laundering case on March 9. In its July 3 order, the high court had declined him bail in the ED case.
This matter has to be visited with a “different approach” as a deep rooted conspiracy involving huge loss of public funds has been alleged, the high court had observed while rejecting his bail application in the money laundering case.
It had said the former deputy chief minister of Delhi has not been able to pass the ”triple test” for bail under the anti-money laundering law in which the court has to see whether an accused is likely to flee from justice, tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.
The court had noted that the ED has alleged that the excise policy was framed as a ”special purpose vehicle” to generate the proceeds of crime and, with the same motive, M/s Indo spirits was also constituted for regular generation of proceeds of crime.
The ED has alleged that Sisodia got Indo Spirits formed as a special purpose vehicle for recoupment of the kickbacks.