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Delhi liquor policy case: Manish Sisodia remanded to ED custody till March 17

The court deferred Sisodia's bail application hearing until March 21 while making the decision about ED's remand, citing a lack of time. Manish Sisodia is remanded to ED custody till 17th March 2023. Manish Sisodia was arrested by CBI on 26th February 2023.

On Friday, 10th March 2023, a Delhi court remanded former deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till 17th March 2023. The court ruled this while hearing a money laundering case filed in connection with the Delhi liquor policy regarding the excise policy for the year 2021-2022.

Special judge MK Nagpal heard the case. Lawyers Dayan Krishnan, Mohit Mathur, and Siddharth Aggarwal argued for Manish Sisodia while advocate Zoheb Hossain appeared for the ED. Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation and was sent to judicial custody in the Delhi liquor policy case.

Advocate Zoheb Hossain argued, “We have put materials that we’ve gathered under different heads. First is on implementation of excise policy and the role of the accused. The policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business to certain private companies. There was a conspiracy to frame the policy in such a manner as to ensure illegal benefits to some persons. There was no suggestion from the public to fix 12% of the wholesale profit margin to private entities.”

Advocate Zoheb Hossain further said, “Conspiracy was coordinated by Vijay Nair and others along with South Group. The new policy was brought out for extraordinary profit margins for wholesalers. Members of the South group further got control of 9 zones, therefore, making a serious cartel in the excise business in Delhi. Vijay Nair was acting on behalf of the Chief Minister and Deputy CM of Delhi. The investigation revealed that Sisodia personally got the file of Indo spirits cleared by the excise department.”

Advocate Zoheb Hossain added, “The arrestee used sim cards issued and phones purchased in the name of others. He himself used a phone purchased in some other person’s name. Purchased on Flipkart and the arrestee has not given payment. The proceeds of the crime were quantified for over Rs. 292 crores. Considering the magnitude of the matter, we need to identify the completed modus operandi. We need to confront other persons who we have summoned. Seven persons we have issued. We are seeking a remand of 10 days.”

Manish Sisodia’s counsel Dayan Krishnan argued that not a single penny was recovered from the former deputy chief minister. He said, “In money laundering, you’re (judge) expected to look at concealment, possession, and use. It has to be traced to the individual. Not a single penny has been traced to me. So they say Vinay Nair portrayed himself as the representative of Manish Sisodia. It is laughable, to say the least. We are talking about a premium investigating agency. Why have they not been able to trace a single penny to me?”

He further argued, “Under this draconian Act, the power to arrest is an extreme position. Where you’ve (judge) to decide that their subjective satisfaction would show that I’m likely to be guilty. Look at their document, everything is I heard I heard I heard.”

Advocate Dayan Krishnan also doubted the timing of Sisodia’s arrest in the money laundering case. He said, “I was never summoned by ED. Till one fine day, while remand applications were going on in the CBI case, my bail application was fixed. One day before the hearing of the bail application, I’m arrested. ECIR is of August 2020. This kind of conduct must concern the court. The process itself is illegal here. It can’t be that a person is kept in custody in a special Act (PMLA) just to ensure that he does not get bail.”

Senior Advocates Siddharth Aggarwal and Mohit Mathur also argued for Manish Sisodia. Advocate Aggarwal said, “Without any money trial and without any money coming to me, can we say that in their assessment that I am guilty of money laundering?”

The court deferred Sisodia’s bail application hearing until March 21 while making the decision about ED’s remand, citing a lack of time. Manish Sisodia is remanded to ED custody till 17th March 2023. Manish Sisodia was arrested by CBI on 26th February 2023.

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