SC to consider listing of fresh plea for bail of Manish Sisodia in excise policy scam cases

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Manish Sisodia

AAP leader Manish Sisodia (File image)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it would consider listing of a fresh petition of AAP leader and former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia by which his bail plea has been sought to be revived in the excise policy scam cases.

On June 4, the top court had refused to entertain the bail pleas of Sisodia in cases lodged by the CBI and the ED in connection with the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam.

Sisodia’s counsel and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said an application is filed for revival of a disposed of petition which was filed seeking bail in the cases.

The plea said the law officer, appearing for the probe agencies, had told the bench that the charge sheet and prosecution complaint in the main excise policy scam case and the linked money laundering matter will be filed on or before July 3, 2024.

"In the Manish Sisodia matter, he has been in jail for 16 months. The court said the trial must conclude, it hasn't started. I filed the special leave petition (SLP), they gave liberty to revive after July 3. The court gave liberty to list...,” Singhvi said.

“Have you mailed... I will look into it,” the CJI said.

While declining the bail, the bench on June 4, had said Sisodia can revive his petitions for bail after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) file their final prosecution complaint and charge sheet, respectively, in the cases involving alleged corruption and money laundering.

A prosecution complaint is the ED's equivalent of a charge sheet.

The top court had on October 30 last year dismissed Sisodia's regular bail pleas in the cases but gave him liberty to approach courts for relief if there was a change in the circumstances or trial got protracted.

A vacation bench of Justices Aravind Kumar and Sandeep Mehta had noted the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED and the CBI, that the central probe agencies would file their final prosecution complaint and charge sheet by July 3.

"In the light of the said submissions made and having regard to the fact that the period of '6-8 months' fixed by this court by order dated October 30, 2023 having not come to an end, it would suffice to dispose of these petitions with liberty to the petitioner to revive his prayer afresh after filing of the final complaint/charge-sheet as assured by Solicitor General," the bench had said in its order.

It had added in the event of such a bail application being filed, the same would be considered on its own merits as already observed by this court in the October 30, 2023 order.

"Contentions of both parties kept open. Accordingly, these petitions stand disposed of," the bench had said.

Solicitor General Mehta told the court that the list of prosecution witnesses will be pruned to ensure speedy conclusion of trial.

Sisodia had earlier moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court's May 21 verdict which dismissed his bail pleas in the cases probed by the two central agencies.

The AAP leader had challenged in the high court a trial court's April 30 order by which it had rejected his bail applications in the cases involving alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

On October 30 last year, the top court had denied him bail in the corruption and money laundering cases related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, saying the accusation of "windfall gains" of Rs 338 crore to wholesale liquor dealers was "tentatively supported" by evidence.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023 for his alleged role in the liquor policy case. The ED arrested him in the money laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023.

He resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023.