The former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been sent to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody for seven days in the Delhi liquor policy case.
ED had sought at least 10 days to question the Aam Aadmi Party leader over alleged money laundering in framing the liquor policy, which was later scrapped.
The ED arrested Sisodia on March 9. Before the ED arrest, the CBI had arrested him over alleged corruption in framing Delhi’s liquor policy.
On Friday, Sisodia’s bail request in the CBI case was moved for hearing on March 21.
“Want to confront Sisodia with others,” says ED
The ED told the special Rouse Avenue Court that it has summoned officers and wants to confront them with Sisodia in custody to follow where the money trail in the Delhi liquor policy case leads to. The ED said the proceeds of the crime is worth at least ₹292 crore.
Sisodia’s lawyer slams ED
Slamming the ED, Sisodia’s lawyer Dayan Krishna told court that, “It has become a fashion these days that the agencies take arrests as a right. It’s time for the courts to come down heavily on this sense of entitlement.”
Earlier in the day, Manish Sisodia appeared before the Rouse Avenue court for hearing on ED’s latest plea amid his ongoing custody in the Tihar Jail.
The supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) staged a protest outside the court premises and raised slogans in Sisodia’s support, whereas those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest seeking Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation over the case.
What did ED say?
During the hearing, the Enforcement Directorate told the court that the scam started with drafting of Delhi excise policy, which was done by AAP leader Manish Sisodia and others.
There are statements, other evidence against AAP leader Manish Sisodia, the ED told court, adding that Movement of money through hawala channel also being probed.
The agency also accused Manish Sisodia of being a part of money-laundering nexus.
“Sisodia made false statements. We have to unearth modus operandi, confront him with others,” said lawyer representing the central agency.
Manish Sisodia destroyed his phone, other evidence and used phone bought by others, ED said.
Sisodia’s arguments in court
Sisodia’s lawyer, opposing the ED’s plea, said it is executive’s job to make policy, which goes through several layers.
“Delhi excise policy was accepted by LG and others, they must have examined it,” Sisodia’s lawyer further told the court.
The deputy CM’s lawyer also questioned jurisdiction of the central agency in policy matters. “How can ED look into policy making in money-laundering case?” Sisodia’s lawyer asked the court.
“ED has not found single penny related to my client, case entirely based on hearsay,” Sisodia’s lawyer told the court.
Terming the PMLA as ‘draconian’, Sisodia’s lawyer said the AAP leader was arrested only to be kept in jail.
“Time has come for courts to come down heavily on such arrests,” the lawyer stressed.
AAP leader was previously questioned
Previously, the ED had questioned the AAP leader about alleged kickbacks of ₹100 crore from the South Group via the hawala channel.
He was also questioned about Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Pillai and K. Kavitha, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter.
Hyderabad based liquor businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai arrested by ED
The Enforcement Directorate arrested Arun Ramchandra Pillai, a Hyderabad-based liquor businessman on March 7. Pillai is accused of representing the “South Group” of liquor traders in this case. After hours of questioning, Pillai was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is the eleventh person to be arrested in connection with the case.
K Kavitha summoned by ED
A day after Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai’s arrest, BRS MLC K Kavitha has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection to Delhi Liquor Policy Scam. Kavitha will be questioned by the ED on March 10, stated TV reports.
K Kavitha was questioned by CBI–which is also probing the case–in December, 2022. The ED is probing the money laundering aspect of the excise policy scam case. Kavitha was named as an accused based on testimony from another accused in the case.
The CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26 and later remanded him in judicial custody by Rouse Avenue District Court.
(With inputs from PTI)