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Delhi High Court denies bail to AAP leader Manish Sisodia in Delhi liquor policy scam case

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to grant bail to senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in a case related to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma ruled that Sisodia was a powerful person and could influence witnesses if released on bail.

The High Court further said that the allegations against the accused, who was a public servant, were very serious in nature.

The Single-Judge bench, while noting that it has not examined the excise policy nor the power of the government, said that the applicant being a powerful person, there was a possibility of him influencing the witnesses.

A trial court in Delhi had earlier rejected Sisodia’s bail plea on March 31.

In a detailed order, special CBI judge MK Nagpal had prima facie held that the former excise minister played the most important and vital role in the criminal conspiracy related to the alleged Delhi Excise Policy case.

This led to the present appeal before the High Court.

Sisodia was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI )in the liquor policy case on February 26. Subsequently, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 9.

It has been alleged that Sisodia and other members of AAP connived to grant liquor licences to certain traders in exchange for bribes.

The Central agencies’ case was that the Excise policy was tweaked and the profit margins were changed in a manner that benefited certain traders and kickbacks were received in exchange for the same.

The ED and the CBI registered cases in relation to the alleged scam after Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe based on a report by the Delhi Chief Secretary.

The report claimed that Sisodia violated statutory provisions and notified a policy that had significant financial implications.

AAP has denied the allegations and maintained that Sisodia was innocent.

It was Sisodia’s stance that the policy and the changes made in it were approved by the LG and that CBI was now going after the policy decisions of an elected government.

He further said that till now, neither the CBI nor the ED has been able to trace any kickbacks to him.

In the ED case too, the special court had denied bail to Sisodia on April 28. Appeal against the same is pending before the High Court.

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