Delhi Excise Policy case: Court extends judicial custody of AAP leader Manish Sisodia till April 5
A local court in Delhi on Wednesday extended the judicial custody of former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia till April 5 in a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
Sisodia was produced before Special Judge M.K. Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Courts on expiry of custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
He is already in judicial custody in the corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Earlier on March 10, the same court had remanded Sisodia in ED custody for his alleged involvement in irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. The custody was later extended to March 22.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Sisodia under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), after questioning him inside Tihar jail.
The court had earlier observed that Sisodia was instrumental at every state in the formulation and implementation of excise policy and that his arrest in the money laundering case was fully justified.
ED had alleged that the Excise Policy 2021-22 was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12 percent to certain private companies. It said that such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of the Group of Ministers (GoM).
The national agency further submitted that the conspiracy was coordinated by businessman Vijay Nair and other individuals, in connivance with people from the Southern part of the country, to give extraordinary profit margin to wholesalers.
As per ED, Nair was acting on behalf of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia.
It also accused Sisodia of destroying the evidence, alleging that the AAP leader destroyed 14 phones out of which only two were recovered. It was also submitted that the former Delhi cabinet Minister used sim cards and phones, which were purchased in the name of other individuals.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Sisodia on February 26 after an interrogation of more than eight hours. He was named as an accused in the FIR.
CBI alleged that Sisodia gave evasive replies during the probe and did not cooperate with the investigation, despite being confronted with evidence. The agency filed a charge sheet in the matter on November 25, 2022.
As per the FIR lodged by CBI, Sisodia and others were instrumental in ‘recommending’ and ‘taking’ decisions regarding the Excise policy 2021-22 ‘without approval’ of the competent authority with an intention to ‘extend’ undue favours to the licensee post tender.
On February 27, the trial court had remanded Sisodia to CBI custody for five days. His custody was later extended for two more days.
On March 6, he was sent to judicial custody in the CBI case. It was during this judicial custody that ED arrested him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).