Delhi court lists Sisodia's bail plea for March 21

by IANS |

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) A Delhi court on Friday listed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's bail application for hearing on March 21, in connection with the now-scrapped excise policy case.

After the Central Bureau of Investigation on February 26 arrested him, the ED, on Thursday also arrested Sisodia in the same case.

Special CBI Judge M.K. Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Courts was also to hear Sisodia's bail plea, which due to paucity of time, he could not.

During the hearing, the ED sought his 10-day custody saying that they need to unearth the modus operandi, the entire scam and confront Sisodia with some other people.

The counsel for ED, Advocate Zoheb Hossain submitted that the policy was formulated to ensure that certain private entities get 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, the 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 argued that Sisodia had destroyed the evidence.

"Within a span of one year, 14 phones have been destroyed and changed," the agency 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," ED's counsel submitted.

He (Sisodia) has been evasive from the start, the ED alleged.

Appearing for Sisodia, senior Advocate Dayan Krishanan said that they were to argue for bail today and that he was "never summoned by the ED even once".

Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur also represented Sisodia and said that it is only a fashion these days that they (Agencies) take arrests as a "right".

"It is time for courts to come down heavily on this entitlement that they feel they have," he argued.

Another senior advocate for Sisodia, Siddharth Aggarwal argued that "it's so easy in our country and our polity to say that I picked money for so and so functionary. Can that functionary be put behind bars based on this? If this is done, then Sec 19 PMLA will become redundant".

He concluded by saying that the law is that 'if the law laid for arrest is not complied with, the arrest will be illegal'.

Hossain for ED argued: "We are at the stage of remand. Please see what we have against the accused. They say policy is a matter of the executive, if that were the case, we would not have a coal scam or 2G scam."

There was heavy security presence in and outside the Rouse Avenue Courts premises.

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.

On March 6, Judge Nagpal sent Sisodia to 14 days of judicial custody, 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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