Delhi Excise Policy: Court Extends Judicial Custody of Manish Sisodia till May 15

Manish Sisodia_LegallySpeaking

Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court extended the judicial custody of AAP leader Manish Sisodia on Tuesday in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. The court also scheduled May 15 for further arguments on framing of charges in the case.

Delhi HC

On May 2, Manish Sisodia filed a plea before the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court’s denial of bail in the excise policy case under investigation by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Advocates Rajat Bharadwaj and Mohd Irshad brought the matter before the bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, requesting urgent listing of the case.

Trial Court

On April 30, the Rouse Avenue Court rejected Sisodia’s bail petitions for the second time, stating, “…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.”

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

Investigation Agencies

The ED and the CBI alleged irregularities in modifying the excise policy, extending undue favors to license holders, waiving or reducing license fees, and extending the L-1 license without proper authorization.

The probe agencies claimed that the beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and falsified entries in their accounting books to evade detection.

According to the allegations, the excise department decided to refund the earnest money deposit of approximately Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against established rules.

Despite the absence of enabling provisions, a waiver on tendered license fees was permitted from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19, resulting in an alleged loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte