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’13 months in jail long enough,’ Supreme Court grants bail to Benoy Babu in Delhi liquor scam

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      08 December, 2023 05:52 PM      0 Comments
months in jail long enough Supreme Court grants bail to Benoy Babu in Delhi liquor scam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to a senior executive of Pernod Ricard India, a subsidiary of one of the world's largest alcoholic beverages companies, in a money laundering case being investigated by Enforcement Directorate's case in the Delhi liquor policy scam.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V N Bhatti agency can't keep people behind bars for long period of time, prior to trial, as it is not proper.

In enlarging Benoy Babu, the regional general manager on bail, the court primarily took into account the fact that he had already spent 13 months in jail and he was a junior employee, and prima-facie played a small minimal role only in the scam.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Babu, submitted that his client was a junior employee who played no role in policy making, and he was not on the Board of the company or MD.

Agreeing to the submission, the bench said that he has been in jail for 13 months.

“You can’t keep somebody in jail for so long. We are giving bail. 13 months is a very long time. Trial is far from starting," the bench told Additional Solicitor General S V Raju.

Salve also relied upon the Supreme  Court’s observations made in the case of Manish Sisodia, even though his plea for bail was declined.

The bench noted that there seemed to be a contradiction between what the Central Bureau of Investigation alleged and what the ED alleged.

He is not an accused in the chargesheet filed by CBI in the case and he is prosecution witness.

However, Babu was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on November 10, 2022.

Since then, he is currently in judicial custody.

The bench also pointed out that charges have not been framed against Babu.

Raju, however, asked the court not to treat the csse as a precedent in the order.

Several people have been arrested in connection with this case, including Delhi's ex-Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.

On October 30, 2023, the Supreme Court dismissed bail pleas of former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who was arrested in the Delhi liquor policy scam. Dismissing Sisodia’s bail pleas, a bench comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V N Bhatti had said “one aspect regarding transfer of money Rs 338 crores, is tentatively established. We dismiss application for bail”.

On November 20, 2023, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate on a plea filed by AAP leader and Rajya MP Sanjay Singh against his arrest on October 4 and subsequent remand in a money laundering case in the connection with the Delhi liquor policy case.

The CBI had lodged the case on August 17, 2022 under Section 120B IPC and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. A total of 15 persons were specifically named in the FIR, including Sisodia, who was the deputy Chief Minister as well as Excise Minister of the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) for various irregularities in framing and implementation of the now scrapped excise policy for the year 2021-22.

Agencies had claimed a kickback of Rs 100 Cr was actually paid by the liquor group.

 

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