Manish Sisodia's Custody Extended Till April 17 In Delhi Liquor Case
The Rouse Avenue Court today extended the judicial custody of Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia till April 17 in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy.
Special Judge MK Nagpal on Monday extended the Judicial Custody of Manish Sisodia in the CBI case by further 14 days.
Mr Sisodia was produced physically on today before the Court from Tihar Jail after the end of his judicial custody period.
Last week, Special Judge MK Nagpal denied bail to Mr Sisodia stating that allegations made against him were serious in nature and at this stage of the case, he does not deserve to be released on bail as he was arrested only on February 26 this year.
The judge said that an investigation into Mr Sisodia’s role in the case has not yet been completed and the roles of some other co-accused involved in the case are also yet being investigated.
“Further, the applicant (Manish Sisodia) does not even satisfy the triple test keeping in view his conduct as reflected by the destruction or non-production of his previous mobile phones of the relevant period and also the apparent role played by him in not producing or missing the file of one Cabinet Note put up through the then Excise Commissioner Rahul Singh, there may be serious apprehensions of destruction or tampering of some further evidence and even of influencing of some prime witnesses of this case by him or at his instance, in case he is released on bail by the court,” the court said.
According to the CBI, Mr 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 said policy to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the said conspiracy.
“The payment of advance kickbacks of around Rs 90-100 crores was meant for him and his other colleagues in the GNCTD and Rs 20-30 crores 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 South liquor lobby and to ensure repayment of the kickbacks to the said lobby,” noted the court.
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 the architect of the said criminal conspiracy, noted the Court.
Mr Sisodia, in his bail petition in a trial court, had stated that no fruitful purpose would 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 the society.
However, Mr Sisodia later tendered his resignation as deputy CM in 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,” CBI said.
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,” CBI added, opposing Mr 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.
Mr 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 he 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.
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