Delhi High Court Reserves Order on Manish Sisodia's Bail Pleas as ED Implicates AAP

The Delhi High Court is considering the bail pleas of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam, with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) set to name the AAP as an accused in the money laundering case, marking a significant development in the investigation into alleged corruption and political funding irregularities in India." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the Delhi excise policy scam and the AAP's involvement), the main entities (Manish Sisodia, AAP, ED, and Delhi High Court), the context (India's political landscape and corruption investigations), and the significant actions and implications (the ED's decision to name the AAP as an accused and the potential consequences for political parties and leaders). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the setting of the Delhi High Court and the key players involved.

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Nitish Verma
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Delhi High Court Reserves Order on Manish Sisodia's Bail Pleas as ED Implicates AAP

Delhi High Court Reserves Order on Manish Sisodia's Bail Pleas as ED Implicates AAP

The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on the bail pleas of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam cases filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). During the hearing on May 14, 2024, the ED informed the court that it will make the AAP an accused in the money laundering case linked to the alleged liquor policy scam.

Why this matters: This development has significant implications for the accountability of political parties and their leaders in India, and may set a precedent for future investigations into corruption allegations. The case also raises questions about the role of money in politics and the need for greater transparency in political funding.

The ED's counsel stated, "AAP is going to be made a co-accused in the next prosecution complaint (charge sheet) to be filed in the case." This marks the first time a political party will be named as an accused in the Delhi excise policy scam case. The agency is contemplating invoking Section 70 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe the aspect of vicarious liability.

Sisodia, who has been in custody for 15 months, had his bail plea opposed by the ED, citing concerted efforts by the accused persons to delay the trial. The agency mentioned that a supplementary chargesheet will be filed soon. Sisodia's counsel argued that the central agencies are still arresting people in connection with the case, and there is no question of an early conclusion of the trial.

The Delhi excise policy scam came to light in July 2022 when Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar flagged gross violations in the policy introduced by the Delhi government in November 2021. The policy allowed private licensees to run liquor stores but was scrapped in September 2022. The CBI has alleged that liquor companies were involved in framing the policy, earning them a 12% profit, and that a liquor lobby dubbed the "South Group" paid kickbacks of Rs 100 crore to the AAP, part of which were routed to public servants.

The ED has informed the court that it will treat the AAP as a company, with Arvind Kejriwal as its CEO, under the PMLA. This classification will enable the agency to name the AAP as an accused. The Supreme Court had earlier raised the question of why the AAP was not being named as an accused if it had benefited from the alleged kickbacks.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has welcomed the ED's move, with spokesperson Tuhin Sinha alleging that the kickbacks were used by the AAP in its campaign for the 2022 Goa elections. Sinha dismissed allegations of central agencies being misused by the Centre, stating that the AAP has good lawyers and can "fight it out legally".

As the Delhi High Court reserves its order on Manish Sisodia's bail pleas, the ED's decision to implicate the AAP in the Delhi excise policy scam case has added a new dimension to the ongoing investigation. With a total of 17 arrests made so far and the ED set to file a supplementary chargesheet naming the AAP as an accused, the case continues to unfold, drawing attention to the alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Delhi High Court reserves order on AAP leader Manish Sisodia's bail pleas in excise policy scam case.
  • ED to make AAP an accused in money laundering case, a first in the Delhi excise policy scam.
  • AAP to be treated as a company, with Arvind Kejriwal as CEO, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
  • ED alleges AAP received Rs 100 crore kickbacks from liquor lobby, part of which was routed to public servants.
  • 17 arrests made so far, with supplementary chargesheet to be filed soon, naming AAP as an accused.