The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the CBI to file a status report on a plea by former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, arrested in the Delhi excise policy case, seeking interim bail on grounds of his wife's illness.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to make an endeavour to file the report by Thursday when the court is scheduled to hear Sisodia's plea seeking regular bail.
Sisodia's counsel submitted that the medical condition of the senior AAP leader's wife needs urgent attention, and urged the court to release him on interim bail. The counsel for the CBI said it may not be possible to furnish the report on Thursday.
To this, the court asked him to try and make efforts to file the report by Thursday so that the application could be heard along with Sisodia's regular bail plea. The CBI had arrested Sisodia for alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 on February 26, following several rounds of questioning.
On March 31, the trial court here had dismissed Sisodia's bail plea in the matter, saying he was "prima facie the architect" of the "scam" and had played the "most important and vital role" in the criminal conspiracy related to alleged payment of advance kickbacks of Rs 90-100 crore meant for him and his colleagues in the Delhi government.
The high court had earlier issued a notice and asked the CBI to file its reply to Sisodia’s regular bail plea. He has challenged the trial court's order denying him bail in the case. Sisodia's counsel had earlier said the lower court has not considered the medical condition of the AAP leader's wife, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis. He said the condition of Sisodia's wife was deteriorating.
He had said all the offences alleged against Sisodia are punishable with imprisonment up to seven years, something which should weigh in favour of the AAP leader. The lawyer had said the allegation that he was a recipient of the proceeds of crime was "all in air" and no money trail leading to him has been found.
Sisodia has sought parity for him with the other accused who have got the relief, and claimed that he was not in a position to influence the witnesses in the case or tamper with evidence. The CBI has opposed his bail plea, saying that the excise policy was manipulated to favour cartelisation and monopolisation in liquor trade in the national capital, and Sisodia and businessman Vijay Nair were the main conspirators.
It has said the accused wanted to make money but at the same time, they wanted to show that they were transparent which they were not. “It was a fraud, a scam whereby money was to be made. But they wanted to show they are transparent. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of liquor were all connected. Rs 90-100 crore bribe was paid before the policy fructified. The involvement of Manish Sisodia was at the helm of all things,” CBI’s counsel had argued.
The CBI, in its written reply opposing Sisodia’s bail plea, claimed that the AAP leader was involved in commission of grave economic offences and was key to unravelling the modus operandi of the crime. It said the bail plea was devoid of any merit and was an attempt to misuse the intricacies of law to thwart the progress of investigation in the case.
While the CBI contended that Sisodia is the “kingpin and architect of the conspiracy” and his influence and clout disentitle him to any parity with the co-accused enlarged on bail, the AAP leader urged the high court to grant him bail claiming no money trail linking him to the proceeds of alleged crime has been found.