A Special Court in Delhi on March 10 granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seven days of custody of former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, in the now-scrapped excise policy case.
Mr. Sisodia will remain in ED’s custody till March 17th.
The order for ED’s remandwas passed by special Judge M.K. Nagpal.
The ED arrested Mr. Sisodia on Thursday evening after questioning him for several hours in the Tihar Jail. The agency had sought 10 days of remand for the former Deputy CM of Delhi.
He was earlier arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the excise policy case on February 26 and remained in CBI’s custody till March 06 and was in judicial custody. The court also deferred the hearing of bail plea in a CBI case in the similar matter, for March 21.
In its remand application, ED maintained that Mr Sisodia has conspired with other persons and was actively involved on formation of the faulty liquor policy against kickbacks.
“By such acts, the proceeds of crime to the tune of at least ₹292.8 crore has been generated and the accused had played a role in generation, transfer, concealment of the same.
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The ED also alleged that Mr. Sisodia is not cooperating in the interrogation and giving evasive replies.
ED’s counsel Zoheb Hossain told the court that changes to excise policy were made to benefit a group from South India.
“Please see the manner in which policy was formulated to ensure that certain entities get huge benefits,” he said, further alleging that the argument that the changes to the policy were made in response to public feedback, was not true.
He also alleged that the liquor policy scam involved government functionaries and middlemen and others and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair was the one who was coordinating the entire conspiracy.
“The conspiracy was orchestrated by Nair, Sisodia, K. Kavitha and many others. The South Group paid a kickback of nearly ₹100 crore to AAP leaders. One of the biggest cartels was made to operate 30% of liquor business in Delhi,” the ED contended.
ED also mentioned about frequent changing of mobile phone by the AAP leader and alleged that the same was an act to destroy evidences.
Reacting to ED’s allegations, Mr Sisodia’s lawyer Dayan Krishnan said that the enforcement agency is not arresting people by following proper legal process.
“It has become a fashion these days that the agencies take arrests as a right. It’s time for the courts to come down heavily on this sense of entitlement,” Mr. Krishnan said.
Mr. Sisodia’s counsel also maintained that not a single money was traced to their client and then ED and CBI said that Vijay Nair was acting on his behalf.
“Why have they not been able to trace even a single Rupee to me,” Mr. Krishnan asked.
Attacking on the BJP for arresting Manish Sisodia, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said that the BJP-led centre ignores serious allegations against leaders of their party and those who join them but is going after Sisodia and many like him who are not ready to bow infront of them.
“The BJP has co-opted and even rewarded some of them like Himanta Biswa Sarma, Suvendu Adhikari, Mukul Roy, Narayan Rane, BS Yediyurappa and Shivraj Chouhan,” Mr. Singh alleged. Eight opposition parties last week wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging misuse of central investigation agencies to go after them,” Mr. Singh said.
The Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva, however, welcomed the court’s decision, saying that the law is taking its course. “Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party are immersed in corruption and the countdown for their downfall has started,” he said.
Mr. Sachdeva also said, “BJP has been saying since the beginning that Arvind Kejriwal is the mastermind of this whole scam, so the day is not far when Kejriwal will also be inside the jail.”