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No relief for Manish Sisodia as Delhi High Court dismisses bail pleas in money laundering, corruption cases

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said Sisodia allegedly indulged in the destruction of crucial evidence, including electronic evidence.
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 13:35 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 13:35 IST

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New Delhi: In yet another setback to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected his bail plea in the liquor policy scam case. The apex court further observed that his conduct amounts to a 'great betrayal of democratic principles'.

"The case exemplifies grave abuse of public authority by Sisodia. The prosecution establishes prima facie a case of money laundering (against Sisodia) under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him," a bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said.

The court also severely castigated the former Deputy CM and the AAP leader for framing a policy to enrich private persons, saying "he used deceptive methods to show that the Delhi excise policy had public support but, in reality, the policy was framed to enrich a few individuals. This constitutes a form of corruption."

Sisodia had sought bail in the cases being investigated by the CBI and ED in 2022 Delhi liquor case.

This was the second bail plea moved by the AAP leader Sisodia, who has been in custody since February 26, 2023, after his arrest by the CBI. Subsequently, he was arrested by the ED on March 9, 2023.

While rejecting his bail, the court said that the case involved great misuse of power and a breach of public trust by Sisodia.

Referring to his alleged act of damaging of two of his mobile phones, the HC observed that he indulged in acts of destruction of crucial evidence, including electronic evidence in this regard.

The High Court also took into record the fact that Sisodia was holding an important position in the Delhi government and handled multiple portfolios, besides being an influential person.

The trial court had dismissed Sisodia's bail pleas in the corruption and money laundering cases lodged by the CBI and ED respectively in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

During the hearing, the ED had said that it would make AAP an accused in the next prosecution complaint (charge sheet) in the case.

Both the ED and CBI have opposed Sisodia's bail pleas also on the ground that there are concerted efforts by him to delay the process of framing charges in the case.

"He should not be granted bail at this stage," the ED said.

Sisodia said since both the probe agencies were still arresting people in the case, there was no question of early conclusion of the trial.

Meanwhile, Special Judge Kaveri Baweja on Tuesday also extended Sisodia's judicial custody till May 31 in the money laundering case related to the alleged excise scam after Sisodia challenged the Rouse Avenue Court's April 30 order of dismissal of his bail.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on March 9 last year arrested the former deputy chief minister of Delhi.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI earlier in the alleged liquor scam. He is presently in judicial custody in both the cases registered by the CBI and the ED in the Delhi Excise Policy case.

The Supreme Court had on December 14, 2023 rejected his plea seeking review of its earlier decision of October 30, 2023, declining him bail in the case. The top court had subsequently March 13, 2024 dismissed his curative petition as well.

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Published 21 May 2024, 13:35 IST

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