Delhi excise policy case: Manish Sisodia denied bail as court says he’s behind ‘conspiracy’ | Delhi News

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Friday denied bail to former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in a CBI case related to alleged irregularities in implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 stating that he can “prima facie be held to be architect of the said criminal conspiracy”.
The court of special judge MK Nagpal observed that Sisodia had “played the most important and vital role” in the criminal conspiracy and was “deeply involved” in formulation as well as implementation of the policy to ensure achievement of objectives of the said conspiracy.
“The evidence collected so far clearly shows that the applicant through co-accused Vijay Nair was in contact with the South lobby and formulation of a favourable policy for them was being ensured at every cost,” the judge said in a 34-page order.
Fear of destruction of evidence, says court denying Sisodia bail
A cartel was permitted to be formed to achieve monopoly in sale of certain liquor brands of favoured manufacturers and it was permitted to be done against very objectives of the policy,” the judge said.
“Thus, as per allegations made by prosecution and the evidence collected in support thereof so far, the applicant can prima facie be held to be architect of the said criminal conspiracy.”
The court observed that the payment of around Rs 90-100 crore as advance kickbacks was meant for Sisodia and his other colleagues in Delhi. Of this amount, Rs 20-30 crore was found to have been routed through Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and approver Dinesh Arora, said the order. In turn, certain provisions of the excise policy were permitted to be “tweaked and manipulated” by him to “protect and preserve” the interests of the South liquor lobby and to ensure repayment of the kickbacks to the lobby, the judge observed.
The court was of the view that the evidence collected so far by CBI not only shows Sisodia’s “active participation” in the criminal conspiracy but also “prima facie commission of some substantive offences under the PC Act by him”. The judge added that Sisodia failed to satisfy the “triple test” for grant of bail in the case given the fact that his conduct ranged from destruction or non-production of his previous mobile phones during the relevant period to the apparent role played by him in not producing of the file of a cabinet note or letting it go missing.
“There may be serious apprehensions of destruction or tampering of some further evidence and even of influencing of some prime witnesses of this case by him or at his instance in case he is released on bail by the court,” said the order.
Referring to the “specific allegations” about how at one of the meetings of the Group of Ministers (GoM), the definition of ‘Related Party’ was changed to “achieve the objectives of the said criminal conspiracy and for permitting the formation of cartels” between different stakeholders in the liquor business to ensure repayment of advance kickbacks and payment of bribe to public servants, the court said, “This court is not inclined to release the applicant on bail at this stage of investigation of the case as his release may adversely affect the ongoing investigation and will also seriously hamper the progress thereof.”
Refusing to consider the medical condition of his wife as ground for releasing Sisodia on bail, the court said the condition of his wife as revealed in documents submitted before the court “cannot be considered to be severe or serious enough to release the applicant on bail” and the same also cannot be taken to mean that she cannot take care of herself or has to be necessarily taken care of by Sisodia only.
Responding to the observation by Sisodia’s counsel that three other accused, including Nair, had been granted bail, the court said that the role played by Sisodia cannot be equated with or put at par with the roles of the other three accused.
“Further, the role of this applicant cannot be equated even with the role of other two public servants involved in this case as they were merely officials of the excise department working ultimately under directions of the applicant holding the charge of the excise ministry at the relevant time,” said the court.
The court also refused to entertain the defence lawyers’ arguments that Sisodia’s arrest was illegal stating that there is “nothing apparent on record” to infer or show that his arrest in this case was illegal or violative of any directions of Supreme Court or high courts, and that rather, the material placed before this court by CBI “justifies the arrest”.
“Economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of grant of bail. It is so because in such matters, deep-rooted conspiracies are there and such cases even involve huge losses to the public funds and are, thus, required to be viewed seriously considering their grave nature affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing a serious threat to the financial health of the country,” said the judge.
The order had been reserved by the court on March 24.

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