Excise policy case: Delhi court extends Sisodia’s ED custody by 5 days

  • | Friday | 17th March, 2023

A Delhi Court on Friday extended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for further five days in connection with the now-scrapped excise policy case. After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 arrested him, the ED, on March 9, also arrested Sisodia in the same case. Special judge M.K. Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Court was told by the ED that important details have come up during Sisodia’s custody and he had to be confronted with other accused persons. The probe agency informed the court that voluminous data from Sisodia’s email and mobile, etc. is also being forensically analysed. Sisodia’s counsel, however, opposed the central agency’s remand plea saying that there is not a whisper from the agency regarding the proceeds of the crime, which is fundamental to the case. His lawyer further contended that there was no justification in seeking extension of custody and that Sisodia was confronted only with four people during his earlier custody of seven days. On March 10, the court had sent Sisodia to ED custody, which ended on Friday. The court had deferred hearing in Sisodia’s bail application for March 21, in the same case being probed by the CBI. During the hearing, the ED had sought his 10-day custody saying that they need to unearth the modus operandi, the entire scam and confront Sisodia with some other people. ED’s counsel Zoheb Hossain, while claiming that Sisodia was part of the “money laundering nexus” had said that the movement of tainted money through hawala channels was also being probed. Hossain had submitted that the policy was formulated to ensure that certain private entities got huge benefits and that one of the biggest cartels was made to operate 30 per cent of liquor business in Delhi. Referring to the meetings between restaurants association and Sisodia, ED alleged that relaxations were afforded to the restaurants in excise policy like reducing the legal age of drinking and other things. The central agency had argued that Sisodia had destroyed the evidence. “Within a span of one year, 14 phones have been destroyed and changed,” the agency had claimed. “Sisodia has used phones purchased by others and SIM cards that are not in his name so that he can use it as a defence later. Even the phone used by him is not in his name,” the ED counsel had submitted. He (Sisodia) has been evasive from the start, the ED had alleged. There was a conspiracy behind framing the excise policy. The conspiracy was coordinated by Vijay Nair, along with others and the excise policy was brought out for extraordinary profit margin for wholesalers, the ED had argued in the court. On March 6, Judge Nagpal sent Sisodia to 14-day judicial custody in the CBI case, and he was lodged in the national capital’s Tihar jail. The CBI was given his remand for seven days before the judge sent him to judicial custody till March 20.

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