Monday, December 4, 2023

Excise Policy scam: Supreme Court seeks response from Enforcement Directorate on Sanjay Singh plea against arrest

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In the money-laundering case related to the Delhi Excise Policy scam, the Supreme Court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central government to reply on a plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh that challenges his arrest and remand by the ED.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti also asked why Singh has not filed a bail plea in the matter.

Justice Khanna remarked that why are you shying away from that? We will say notice but you file (regular bail plea). I do not think an application for bail will stop you from also coming here (for other relief), 

The reply to be submitted by the Central government and the ED in the matter has to be filed before the week commencing on December 11, the Court added.

The Court also gave liberty to Singh to file a bail application before the concerned jurisdictional court.

The Delhi High Court had in October rejected the petition filed by Singh challenging his arrest.

The High Court had stated that imputing political motives to the ED may have an impact on the image of the country.

Singh was arrested by the ED on October 4 after it conducted a search at his residence.

The case against Singh involves allegations that he played a key role in framing and implementing the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy, which was allegedly aimed at benefiting certain liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

On October 5, he was initially remanded to ED custody till October 10, which was later extended till October 13.

On October 13, he was sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Singh then moved the High Court arguing that his arrest was an abuse of the legal process.

The plea was rejected leading to the present appeal before the top court.

Before the Supreme Court today, Singh was represented by Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Singh’s arrest marked the third high-profile arrest of an AAP leader in the excise policy case.

AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair was arrested in September 2022 while former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia was arrested in February 2023.

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