Excise policy case: SC agrees to hear bail plea of Sisodia during the day

PTI, Feb 28, 2023, 12:39 PM IST

The Supreme Court agreed to hear on Tuesday itself the bail plea of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is in CBI custody, in connection with the excise policy case.

The court will take up the matter at 3:50 pm.

The moment a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha assembled, senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Sisodia, mentioned the bail plea for urgent hearing during the day itself.

The top court initially observed that the arrested AAP leader has remedies under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to move the Delhi High Court for bail and seek the quashing of the FIR.

The CJI said the court had recently taken up the bail matter of Congress leader Pawan Khera, who was granted interim bail in a matter pertaining to his alleged objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as it involved clubbing of FIRs lodged in two states.

“There was a prayer for clubbing of the FIRs…here you can go to the (Delhi) High Court (for quashing of the FIR and bail),” the bench observed.

“Your lordships have (delivered) 32 judgements and this (case of Sisodia) falls under remit of the Vinod Dua (judgement),” Singhvi said.

The late veteran journalist was granted protection from coercive action by the Supreme Court in criminal cases registered against him for allegedly making objectionable statements in connection with the 2020 Delhi riots in a YouTube programme.

The bench then agreed to hear Sisodia’s plea.

The CJI first said that the bench will hear the plea after urgent mentioning of cases concludes in the forenoon.

Later, it said that Sisodia’s matter will be taken up at 3.50 PM after the five-judge Constitution bench concludes the day’s proceedings in cases pertaining to Maharashtra political crisis.

A special Delhi court on Monday sent Sisodia to five-day CBI remand in the excise policy case to allow the agency to get ”genuine and legitimate” answers to questions being put to him for ”a proper and fair Special CBI judge M K Nagpal, on Monday, allowed the plea of CBI seeking custodial interrogation of Sisodia for five days in the excise scam case.

The trial judge said though the accused had joined the investigation of this case on two earlier occasions, it has also been observed that he has failed to provide satisfactory answers to most of the questions put to him during his examination and interrogation. Thus, he has failed to legitimately explain the incriminating evidence which has allegedly surfaced against him during the investigation conducted so far.

It is true that he cannot be expected to make self-incriminating statements, but the interests of justice and of a fair investigation require him to come up with some legitimate answers to the questions which are being put to him by the investigating officer (IO), the trial judge had said. The CBI on Sunday evening arrested Sisodia in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor policy for 2021-22.

Earlier this month, the agency had interrogated Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in Tihar Jail in connection with the case after taking permission from the judge.

Jain was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. He is not an accused in the excise policy case.

The CBI had also quizzed AAP’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair, who is also lodged in Tihar Jail, in connection with the excise policy money laundering case being probed by the ED.

Nair was earlier granted bail in the CBI excise policy case by the court.

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