New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday sought response of businessmen Vijay Nair and Abhishek Boinpally on a CBI plea challenging the bail granted to them in a corruption case related to the now-scrapped Excise Policy 2021-22.
Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice to Nair and Boinpally and asked them to file their replies to CBI's separate petitions while listing the matter for further hearing on December 5.
The high court also asked them to file replies to the CBI's application seeking to stay the trial court's bail order.
Nair, the Aam Aadmi Party's communication in-charge, and Boinpally, however, are still in custody as they were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case related to the excise policy.
During the hearing, the judge orally said, “They are already in custody (in ED case).Why do you want a stay on that order? What is the hurry? Let them file a reply then we will see” and deferred the stay application.
Challenging the bail order, the CBI counsel contended that every reasoning given by the trial court judge is “perverse”.
CBI counsel Nikhil Goel also informed the high court that from the date when the first arrest was made, the statutory time period of 60 days will expire on Friday when the agency will file its charge sheet in the case.
The counsel for the two accused vehemently opposed the CBI's petitions.
Senior advocate Rebecca John, representing Nair, said in this country the whole jurisprudence has changed and now it is jail and not bail.
She said the moment Nair got bail in the CBI case, he was arrested by the ED in the money laundering case and added, “This is how the agencies work, the agencies act in tandem”.
While granting them bail, the trial court had said since the maximum punishment for the offence alleged against Nair and Boinpally is only seven years jail, it cannot be considered severe enough to deny them the relief.
The trial court, in its November 14 order granting them bail, had noted that the corruption case was based on an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which does not say that Nair and Boinpally committed any substantive offences, but they are only alleged to be part of a criminal conspiracy.
An FIR was lodged in the matter after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe.
The CBI has alleged that Nair was involved in meeting the other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors at various hotels in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging "ill-gotten money through hawala operators".
The probe agency has also claimed that Boinpally was part of the meetings and involved in the conspiracy to launder money along with another accused, liquor businessman Sameer Mahendru, currently lodged in the Tihar jail.
In the money laundering case, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Mahendru, the managing director of liquor distributor Indospirit Group, which is based in Delhi's Jor Bagh.
The other accused in the case are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, former excise commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, former deputy commissioner Anand Tiwari and former assistant commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
According to the two central agencies, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders.
The Delhi government had implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September this year amid allegations of corruption.