Excise Policy Scam: SC To Consider Listing Of Fresh Plea For Bail Of AAP Leader

Excise Policy Scam

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it will consider listing a fresh petition by AAP leader and former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to revive his bail plea in the excise policy scam cases.

What happened in the previous hearing?

On June 4, the top court refused to entertain Sisodia’s bail pleas in cases lodged by the CBI & ED regarding the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam.

Sisodia’s counsel, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, filed an application to revive the previously dismissed petition seeking bail. The plea noted that the law officer for the probe agencies had informed the bench that the charge sheet and prosecution complaint in the main excise policy scam case and the linked money laundering matter would be filed by July 3, 2024.

Singhvi stated, “In the Manish Sisodia matter, he has been in jail for 16 months. The court said the trial must conclude, it hasn’t started. I filed the special leave petition (SLP), they gave liberty to revive after July 3. The court gave liberty to list.” Chief Justice of India (CJI) responded, “Have you mailed… I will look into it.”

On June 4, the bench had stated that Sisodia could revive his petitions for bail after the ED and the CBI filed their final prosecution complaint and charge sheet, respectively, in the cases involving alleged corruption and money laundering. A prosecution complaint is the ED’s equivalent of a charge sheet.

On October 30 of the previous year, the top court dismissed Sisodia’s regular bail pleas but allowed him to seek relief if there was a change in circumstances or if the trial was unduly delayed. A vacation bench of Justices Aravind Kumar and Sandeep Mehta noted the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s submission that the central probe agencies would file their final prosecution complaint and charge sheet by July 3.

The bench stated in its order, “In light of the said submissions made and having regard to the fact that the period of ‘6-8 months’ fixed by this court by order dated October 30, 2023, having not come to an end, it would suffice to dispose of these petitions with liberty to the petitioner to revive his prayer afresh after filing of the final complaint/charge-sheet as assured by Solicitor General.”

Bench Orders

The bench added that any new bail application would be considered on its own merits, as noted in the October 30, 2023 order. “Contentions of both parties kept open. Accordingly, these petitions stand disposed of.”

Solicitor General Mehta assured the court that the list of prosecution witnesses would be pruned to ensure a speedy conclusion of the trial.

Earlier, Sisodia moved the top court challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 21 verdict, which dismissed his bail pleas in the cases probed by the two central agencies. The AAP leader had also challenged a trial court’s April 30 order rejecting his bail applications in cases involving alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

On October 30 of the previous year, the top court denied Sisodia bail in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, citing evidence tentatively supporting accusations of “windfall gains” of Rs.338 crore to wholesale liquor dealers.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, for his alleged role in the liquor policy case, and by the ED on March 9, 2023, in the related money laundering case. He resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023.

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About the Author: Meera Verma