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Judiciary

Why political party not made an accused,’ SC asks ED, hearing bail plea by Manish Sisodia

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      04 October, 2023 08:36 PM      0 Comments
Why political party not made an accused SC asks ED hearing bail plea by Manish Sisodia

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to know from the Enforcement Directorate to spell out as to why the political party, alleged to be the beneficiary in the Delhi liquor policy scam, has not been made an accused so far in the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V N Bhatti put this query to the ED, while hearing bail pleas of AAP leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

The AAP leader and sitting MLA is facing charges of money laundering and corruption for alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of a now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. He was arrested on February 26, 2023.

The bench asked Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED and CBI, as far as PMLA is concerned, the whole case is that the money went to a political party and that political party is still not an accused.

“How do you answer that? He is not the beneficiary, the political party is the beneficiary," the bench asked Raju.

The court clarified that it was putting this question, even though this was not a point which Sisodia's lawyer has raised directly.

"If, according to you, the party is the beneficiary of the scam, why it has not been made an accused," the bench asked Raju.

The bench also asked Raju how far the Cabinet notes can be scrutinised by court.

The court asked Raju to answer these questions on Thursday.

Arguing for Sisodia, senior advocate A M Singhvi submitted that not a single money trail has been found against his client and being a sitting MLA, he is not a flight risk.

"Everybody else has got bail. Unfortunately, in public life, there are some high value targets and they won't get bail," he submitted.

The ED has claimed a conspiracy, which was coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with the "south group", was hatched to give extraordinary profit margin to wholesalers. It was alleged that Nair was Sisodia's close associate.

Singhvi contended that there is no material to prove he was Sisodia’s agent and there is also no specific individual allegation against Sisodia, rather vague allegation is that he assisted in the proceeds of crime but there is no money trail.  

The apex court was informed that in both cases by the CBI and ED, chargesheets have been filed.

During the hearing, the bench noted that as far as a policy decision is concerned, Prevention of Corruption Act will apply only if there is an element of bribery or quid pro quo.

The hearing in the matter would resume on Thursday.

Sisodia questioned the validity of the Delhi High Court's orders  rejecting his plea for bail in the cases being investigated by the CBI and the ED.

The CBI had lodged the case on August 17, 2022 under Section 120B IPC and Section 7 of the PC 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.

He was separately arrested by the Enforcement Directorate also in a case of money laundering in connection with the scam.



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