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Manish Sisodia bail plea: SC poses questions to agencies on proof, bribery charges

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday put several questions to agencies about the proof against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia in liquor policy irregularities cases and how they are going to prove money laundering charges against the former Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti's questions came when it was hearing the bail plea of Sisodia in liquor policy irregularities matters.

The court flagged various inaccuracies in the CBI and ED investigation of the case and asked if there was any bribery evidence against Sisodia.
The court remarked that to establish a chain, the probe agencies have to look at whether the money has to flow from the liquor lobby to the person.

The court noted the allegations relating to the transfer of money to Goa and pointed out Sisodia has not got the possession but somebody else had, and even the acquisition and use of money was by someone else but not him (Sisodia).
Taking note of South Group conversations, the SC remarked that Manish Sisodia is not involved in all this.
SC remarked Vijay Nair is there but Manish Sisodia is not in this part.

The top court asked how you (the agency) would bring him (Sisodia) under the money laundering act as it (SC) notes that the money is not going to him (Sisodia). SC asked ED how they would establish money laundering by Sisodia factually and legally.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for Sisodia said that he is instrumental in the generation. The court remarked that PMLA will be triggered after the proceeds of the crime are given or paid.

The court said that one has to connect the person concerned with the proceeds of crimes, directly or indirectly.
The court also commented that without money consideration, it will not make out an offence if it is believed that the policy was discriminatory.
ASG SV Raju, arguing for CBI and ED, said that the case of the probe agency that liquor policy was formed in such a manner to deliberately benefit wholesalers, who have paid the prime amount

ASG SV Raju has taken the court through the differences between the old and the new excise policy and said that the policy was allegedly modified to make particular persons the wholesalers.

ASG Raju, appearing for probe agencies, told the SC that the policy was made for the purpose of benefitting some.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sisodia, takes the court through a chart mentioning information on how many were arrested in the case and details on how many got bail and when was bail granted etc.

He also apprised the SC about news reports on yesterday's court hearing relating to the court asking ED why AAP is not made an accused. ASG SV Raju told the SC that he was asked by the media and he said if there is evidence we will not spare anyone.
The top court clarified that yesterday's query was not meant to implicate anyone but a legal question if someone is implicated and someone else is beneficiary then why that beneficiary can't be prosecuted in the matter?

The top court also took note of the accused-turned-approver statement and queried whether the statement was hearsay.
SC remarked that the case will flatten in the trial court when the two questions will be asked in the cross-examination by the defence lawyer raising doubt on the evidence.

These facts came to the court's notice when the agency's lawyer took the bench through the evidence that Vijay Nair was alleged to be called as an associate of Sisodia.

As the hearing remained inconclusive today, the court posted the matter for further hearing on October 12.
Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has moved the Supreme Court for bail in CBI and ED cases related to alleged irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy case. He has challenged the Delhi HC order rejecting his bail plea.

The Delhi High Court denied him bail in both matters. In its order passed on July 3, 2023, in the ED case, the Delhi HC stated that this court inter alia was of the view that in view of the high political positions held by the accused and his position in the party in power in Delhi, the possibility of influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled.

In February 2023, Sisodia was arrested by the CBI for alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of Delhi's new excise policy. The policy was withdrawn amid allegations of foul play by the Opposition. He is currently in judicial custody.
According to the CBI, Sisodia had played the most important and vital role in the criminal conspiracy and he had been deeply involved in the formulation as well as the implementation of the said policy to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the said conspiracy. 

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