Friday, February 23, 2024

Delhi Excise Policy scam case: Supreme Court seeks answers from CBI, ED on bribery evidence against AAP leader Manish Sisodia

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The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) whether they had any evidence of bribery against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia to prove his alleged involvement in the Delhi Excise policy scam.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti, while hearing two bail petitions filed by the former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, asked the national agencies whether there was any indication to establish money laundering by Sisodia factually and legally.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing both CBI and ED, said that the question was not whether Sisodia was directly or indirectly involved in illegal activity or process, but whether he was involved or not. When a policy was made which triggered bribes, it acted as proceeds of crimes.

The Bench then pointed out that generation of money was not an offence under Section 3 (of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act/ PMLA), to which the ASG replied that unless money existed, it cannot be put to use.

The Apex Court observed that it might be a lacuna (generation of money not being an offence under PMLA), but then the problems may come up.

The Bench sought clarification on whether the investigative agencies were challenging the Delhi government’s Excise Policy 2021-22. 

The ASG submitted that the agencies were not challenging the policy decision, reiterated his submission that the policy in question was framed in a manner which benefitted certain wholesalers and Sisodia had a role to play in the same. 

He apprised the Apex Court that the policy was framed as a ‘facade’ to replace the old excise policy, which was not favoured by the Delhi government. 

Sisodia had moved the Apex Court against the Delhi High Court, which refused to give him bail in the two cases filed by CBI and ED. 

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