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Sisodia planted fabricated emails for sham approval of liquor policy in lieu of kickbacks, ED tells court

By LawStreet News Network      13 April, 2023 08:50 PM      0 Comments
Sisodia planted fabricated emails for sham approval of liquor policy in lieu of kickbacks, ED tells court

NEW DELHI: In a strong indictment, the Enforcement Directorate has on Wednesday told a city court that former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had planted fabricated emails to create an illegal ecosystem to give benefits to the liquor cartels in lieu of kickbacks and to create an impression there was public approval for the now-scrapped 2021-22 excise policy.

"We have evidence that Sisodia had planted the emails. These have been received not only in the official email account of the Excise Department but even in his personal email account," ED's counsel Zoheb Hossain said, opposing the bail plea of the AAP leader before special judge M K Nagpal.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26 over alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the liquor policy. Based on the CBI case, ED initiated a money laundering probe and arrested nine persons, including Sisodia. The senior AAP leader has been charged by ED with conspiracy and active involvement in the formulation of the policy in lieu of kickbacks.

In his arguments, the ED counsel said that the content of the purported emails, which suited his agenda, was provided by Sisodia.

Hossain alleged that the directions to send these pre-drafted emails were given to the then chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission Zakir Khan.

"Fabricated emails were sent to show that there was public approval for the policy. This is a sham approval. An illegal ecosystem was created to give benefits to the liquor cartels in lieu of kickbacks," the ED counsel said.

"Zakir Khan then asked his interns to send these emails," Hossain added.

He told the court that the excise policy "was made without any discussion and was "contrary to any known prudence".

Hossain told the court that the model suggested by the expert committee was that individuals will apply and get two retail vends.

"This was to avoid cartelisation. This was supposed to happen through the lottery system. However, Sisodia preferred the limited entity model," Hossain told the court.

On allegations of the profit margin being increased to 12 per cent to ensure that kick- backs given by the "South Group" could be recouped, Hossain told the court that there was "not a shred of evidence" for the increase in profit margin.

"Conspiracies are hatched in secrecy, all the elements of conspiracy are present. Policy making cannot be done in secrecy," Hossain told the court.

"If the wholesale business was kept with the government, there was no manner in which the kickbacks could be taken. Therefore a new policy was framed, in lieu of kickbacks," he alleged.

Hossain told the court that Sisodia's argument that "these are policy considerations and the court should not second guess is a complete bogey".

"Policy making does not happen telepathically. A policy, which is touted to be transparent and fair, is introduced without any deliberation," Hossain told the court.

The ED's counsel also offered to show the case diary to the judge.

Sisodia's counsel, Vivek Jain, however, opposed this, saying, "Sealed cover business should go. If something is used against me to deny me my liberty... If they are relying on something behind my back... It should be put to me as well."

On this, the ED counsel said that the agency will show the case diary to Sisodia at the end of 60 days, which a probe agency gets after arresting an accused to complete the investigation.

The judge adjourned the matter for April 18.

On April 5, ED told the court that its probe into the money laundering case against Sisodia was at a "crucial" stage and it had found fresh evidence of his complicity in the alleged scam.

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