Former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday apprised the Delhi High Court that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could not find any evidence of money trail linking him to the Excise Policy scam case of 2022.
Appearing on behalf of Sisodia, Senior Advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur contended that the entire argument by the probe agency has been based on ‘likelihood.’ Since Sisodia held an important position, he was likely to influence the witnesses, noted Mathur.
He apprised the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma that nothing concrete has been found by CBI till date
He highlighted the dates, saying that the FIR was registered in August 2022. CBI made him the chief architect of the conspiracy. Mathur said Vijay Nair was arrested in September last year and was released on bail in November, before the charge sheet was even filed.
He said all these allegations about him being capable of influencing anyone were not there at all. All the allegations regarding money likely to be coming towards him, was in the realm of likelihood. There was nothing concrete. Nothing on papers. No money trail has been found, he added.
CBI had arrested the AAP leader on February 26 after an interrogation of more than eight hours. He has since remained behind bars. On April 17, a Delhi court had extended his judicial custody till April 29.
Both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have filed cases against him under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), respectively.
Krishnan contended that either the police or the CBI could not arrest Sisodia on such grounds. He asked CBI about the prima facie evidence, which allegedly showed tampering (of evidence) The Counsel noted that CBI had submitted that the file was missing. What could it mean? He said they were talking about a government file, which was moved from the bottom.
On the allegation that the policy was made to provide a profit margin to the South group by increasing it from 5 percent to 12 percent, Krishnan contended that it was a fundamental fallacy in the matter.
He noted that initially in the draft form, the policy said five percent minimum wholesale margin without any cap. The allegation was, in order to favour the South group, the profit margin in earlier policies was ramped up to 12 percent, he added.
He said the AAP leader made a policy, as being a Minister, he was required to make the policy. The LG made changes and sent it back to him. The policy was vetted by the Finance Secretary, the Law Secretary. It was cleared by the Cabinet and sent to the LG.
This policy was the subject matter of this case. It was fundamentally a documentary. Why should he be in custody for this? Why should he be singled out for a case like this? This was a case of being singled out, noted the Counsel.
Krishnan further sought bail on the grounds of the health condition of Sisodia’s wife, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. He further said that the trial in this case was not getting over soon. Even the charge sheet was not filed yet, the Counsel added.
The court will now be heard on April 26. ASG S.V. Raju will commence submissions on behalf of CBI.
(Case title: Manish Sisodia vs CBI)