Delhi Excise Policy: Jailed AAP Leader Manish Sisodia Seeks Early Hearing of Curative Pleas in SC

Manish Sisodia

Jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia urged the Supreme Court on Monday for an early hearing of his two curative petitions challenging the court’s 2023 verdict denying him bail in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Sisodia, informed a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra that a trial court had decided not to hear the bail plea until the curative petition was decided. “Just send an email, we will look at it,” the bench responded.

A Delhi court deferred the hearing on Sisodia’s bail plea citing a pending application related to the case before the Supreme Court.

On December 14, 2023, the apex court rejected Sisodia’s pleas for a review of its October 30 verdict dismissing his bail petitions in the corruption and money laundering cases linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. The court denied him bail, stating that the allegations by the probe agencies of “windfall gains” amounting to Rs 338 crore made by a few wholesale distributors were “tentatively supported” by evidence.

On February 26, 2023, the AAP Leader was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged involvement in the “scam”. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) apprehended Sisodia in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023, after interrogating him in Tihar Jail. Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023.

The Delhi government had implemented the new excise policy on November 17, 2021, but revoked it at the end of September 2022 amidst corruption allegations. According to the investigating agencies, the profit margin of wholesalers was raised from 5 per cent to 12 per cent under the new policy.

The agencies have alleged that the new policy led to cartelization and favored ineligible parties for liquor licenses for monetary benefits. However, the Delhi government and Sisodia have denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the new policy would have boosted the city government’s revenue.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte