Court denies bail to Sisodia, says evidence shows active participation in criminal conspiracy

9 Min Read

NEW DELHI: The Rouse Avenue Court, while denying bail to Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday, said that the evidence collected so far by the CBI not only shows the applicant’s active participation in criminal conspiracy but also shows prima facie commission of some substantive offences of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act by him.

The court said that there is nothing apparent on record to infer or show that Sisodia’s arrest, in this case, was illegal or violative of any directions of the Supreme Court or the High Courts and rather, the material placed before this court by the CBI justifies the arrest of the applicant in the case.

“Further, even though the medical condition of the wife of the applicant has been sought to be made a ground for grant of bail to him, it is observed that though the neurological or mental illness of the wife of the applicant is claimed to be around 20 years old, the documents filed on record in support thereof are found to be of the years 2022-2023 only”, the court stated.

The court further added, “Moreover, the condition of the wife of the applicant, as revealed through these documents, cannot be considered to be severe or serious enough to release the applicant on bail and the same also cannot be taken to mean that she cannot take care of herself or has to be necessarily taken care of by the applicant only”.

The Rouse Avenue Court, while dismissing the bail plea of Manish Sisodia, said, “The court is not inclined to release him on bail at this stage of investigation of the case as it may adversely affect the ongoing investigation and will also seriously hamper the progress”.

Manish Sisodia’s bail plea was dismissed by the trial court, in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the Union Territory government.

Special Judge M K Nagpal dismissed the bail plea and said, “In the opinion of this court, the allegations made against the applicant (Manish Sisodia) are serious in nature and, at this stage of the case, he does not deserve to be released on bail as he has been arrested in this case only on February 26, 2023, and investigation even qua his role has still not been completed, what to say about some other co-accused involved in the case whose roles are also yet being investigated”.

According to the CBI, Sisodia had played the most important and vital role in the criminal conspiracy and he had been deeply involved in the formulation as well as the implementation of the excise policy to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the said conspiracy.

“The payment of advance kickbacks of around Rs 90-100 crore were meant for him and his other colleagues in the GNCTD and Rs 20-30 crore out of the above are found to have been routed through the co-accused Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and approver Dinesh Arora and, in turn, certain provisions of the excise policy were permitted to be tweaked and manipulated by the applicant to protect and preserve the interests of the South liquor lobby and to ensure repayment of the kickbacks to the said lobby”, stated the CBI.

The evidence collected so far clearly shows that the applicant, through the co-accused Vijay Nair, was in contact with the South lobby and formulation of a favourable policy for them was being ensured at every cost and a cartel was permitted to be formed to achieve a monopoly in sales of certain liquor brands of favoured manufacturers and it was permitted to be done against very objectives of the policy.

Thus, as per allegations made by the prosecution and the evidence collected in support thereof so far, the applicant can prima facie be held to be an architect of the said criminal conspiracy, the court noted. Sisodia is presently in judicial custody and scheduled to be produced before the court on April 3, 2023.

The court last week reserved the order on the bail plea after the counsel representing the CBI submitted brief written submissions and judgments concerned, as directed by the court. The CBI also submitted the case diary details and several statements of witnesses in the matter.

Sisodia, in his bail petition in a trial court, stated that no fruitful purpose will be served to keep him in custody as all the recoveries in the case have already been made. He also stated that he joined the investigation as and when called for by the CBI. The other accused persons arrested in this case have already been granted bail, Sisodia noted further, adding that he held the important constitutional post of deputy CM of Delhi and has deep roots in society. However, Sisodia later tendered his resignation as deputy CM in the light of his arrest in the liquor policy case.

The CBI, represented by advocate DP Singh, opposed Sisodia’s bail plea stating, “If he is granted bail, this will scuttle and compromise our investigation as the influence and interference are writ large”. The agency further claimed that Sisodia said he destroyed phones because he wanted to upgrade, but nothing of the kind happened.

“According to us, he did this to destroy the chat. He (Manish Sisodia) might not be at a flight risk, but he is a definite risk who will destroy evidence, this cannot be ignored”, the CBI added, opposing Sisodia’s bail plea.

The CBI also submitted that between March 14-17, 2021, the South Group was residing in Oberoi, adding that they prepared a note and took a printout. “They got 36 pages of photocopies. There were meetings and a printout was made. We have evidence to show that clauses were given and a report was prepared”, the CBI stated.

Earlier, the Rouse Avenue Court, while sending Sisodia to CBI remand, directed that the interrogation of the accused during the remand period shall be conducted at some place having CCTV coverage, in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and the said footage shall be preserved by the CBI.

Sisodia was arrested by CBI and ED in an ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Earlier, the trial court observed that the accused had joined the investigation of this case on two earlier occasions, but had failed to provide satisfactory answers to most of the questions put to him during his examination and interrogation, thus, failing to legitimately explain the incriminating evidence which allegedly surfaced against him during the investigation. (ANI)

Share this Article