The Supreme Court on Monday denied bail to former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in corruption and money-laundering cases related to the now-scrapped excise policy for the national capital.
There were two separate regular bail pleas and a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti had reserved its verdict on October 17 on both the pleas.
On October 17, the top court told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that if a bribe that was allegedly paid for tweaking the Delhi excise policy is not part of the predicate offence, it would be difficult to prove the money-laundering case against Manish Sisodia.
The Supreme Court had told the federal agency that it cannot go on assumptions of bribes being paid and whatever protection is there under law, needs to be granted.
Manish Sisodia, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 for his alleged role in the Delhi liquor policy “scam”. The AAP leader has been in custody since then.
ED arrested Manish Sisodia in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9 after questioning him in Tihar jail.
Manish Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28. The high court denied him bail in the CBI case on May 30, saying he is a “high-profile” person having been deputy chief minister and excise minister and has the potential to influence the witnesses.
On July 3, the high court declined him bail in the money-laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s excise policy, holding that the charges against him are “very serious in nature”.
The Delhi government had implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption. According to the investigating agencies, the profit margins of wholesalers were increased from five to 12 per cent under the new policy.
While agencies have alleged that the new policy resulted in cartelisation and those ineligible for liquor licences were favoured for monetary benefits, the AAP-led Delhi government and Manish Sisodia have denied any wrongdoing, saying that the new policy would have led to an increase in Delhi’s revenue share.