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Delhi HC dismisses AAP MP Sanjay Singh's plea against his arrest, remand

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea moved by Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh challenging his remand and arrest in the alleged liquor 'scam' case.

Sanjay Singh through plea had stated that he is neither a suspect nor an accused and despite one main charge sheet and two supplementary charge sheets having been filed for the last more than one year, there is absolutely no involvement of the petitioner at all to date.

The bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma passed the order and stated that the court did not find any reason to interfere with the order of remand or the arrest.

The petition is premature at this stage and the investigation is still to take place, stated the Court.

On the last date of the hearing, appearing for ED, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju submitted that Singh had been arrested in the interest of investigation after following the due process of law. "During the investigation, it is revealed that Sanjay Singh is also a part of a conspiracy of the Delhi Liquor Scam and is closely related to Dinesh Arora and Amit Arora. He has been part of collecting kickback and has received proceeds of crime to the tune of 2 crore," the ED's counsel submitted.

"The trial court which passed the order has perused the case paper that reasons have been recorded in writing and thus it is in compliance with section 19. Facts stated nowhere show that his arrest is unwarranted or unreasonable.

Even his contention regarding remand application mechanically without considering is wrong and misleading. General submissions are made off the cuff. The remand is not mechanical and there is total application of mind," he said.

Earlier, appearing for Sanjay Singh, Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari argued that the action of arresting a reputed person in the country had taken place without following procedures. For more than one year, untill now, I was never called by the Enforcement Directorate, the lawyer said.

"Suddenly on October 4, they came to my house, carried out a search, took my mobile phone, and some papers and later in the evening arrested me. Dinesh Arora gives different answers to the same question, he eventually starts speaking what the agency wants him to say," Singh's lawyer argued.

The trial Court last week sent Sanjay Singh to Judicial Custody till October 27, 2023.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently arrested Sanjay Singh after a day-long questioning by the ED officials at his Delhi residence.

Sanjay Singh's party colleague and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of Delhi was also arrested in the same liquor policy scam case in March month this year.

ED claimed that Singh and his associates played a part in the Delhi government's decision to give licenses to alcohol shops and merchants in 2020, causing losses to the state exchequer and violating anti-corruption laws.

ED has previously searched a number of locations including the homes and offices of Sanjay Singh's close associate Ajit Tyagi and other contractors and businessmen who allegedly benefited from the policy. In its nearly 270-page supplementary charge sheet, the ED has called Sisodia a key conspirator in the case.

The Delhi liquor scam case or the excise policy case pertains to allegations that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge that has been strongly refuted by the AAP.

ED, last year filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken over 200 search operations in this case after filing an FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.

The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval. The beneficiaries diverted "illegal" gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection. (ANI)

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