Manish Sisodia

ED Opposes Sisodia’s Bail Plea

Manish Sisodia

Opposing the regular bail plea of former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said that there was no delay on the part of the prosecution; rather, the delay was caused by the accused persons by filing frivolous applications in the Delhi Excise Policy case, the ED said before the Rouse Avenue court.

The main thrust of arguments by counsel for Manish Sisodia was the delay in trial. It was argued that trial proceedings are going at a snail’s pace.

Manish Sisodia is in judicial custody in Delhi Excise policy case. His judicial custody was extended till April 18. He will join the bail hearing through video conferencing on April 10.

Special judge Kaveri Baweja, after hearing the arguments of ED’s special counsel Zoheb Hossain, deferred further submission for April 10.

ED’s special counsel, Zoheb Hossain, opposed the argument of delay.

Hossain submitted that the trial has not proceeded at a snail’s pace and there has been no delay from the prosecution side.

“There are 95 applications moved by 31 accused persons,” Hossain argued.

“There is a delay by the accused persons and not by the prosecution,” Hossain submitted.

Hossain further said that the delay is partly due to this accused and partly by other co-accused persons.

ED’s counsel also argued that the delay cannot be the sole basis for bail. The rigours of Section 45 PMLA should always be considered when granting bail in PMLA.

Zoheb Hossain also referred to the bail order of Binoy Babu. He said that Binoy Babh was granted bail as he was a prosecution witness in the CBI case. No money was paid to him or by him. He suffered 13 months of incarceration. He was the regional manager of Pernod Ricard.

It was also argued by the ED that the entire offence of money laundering could not have been possible without the present accused (Sisodia).

Special Counsel referred to the February 7, 2023, order and said that frivolous applications were kept filed by other accused persons, which consumed time.

“Applications moved by one or another accused person show that there was a concerted effort to ensure that the trial is delayed,” Hossain argued.

Hossain also referred to the March 7 order and said that the inspection is going on in a very discouraging manner.

Special Counsel also referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment (in Sisodia’s case) wherein it said that the bail application has to be considered by the trial court without being influenced by the observations in the judgment, except for the observations on the right to a speedy trial.

Zoheb Hossain submitted that the trial is not at a snail’s pace while allowing the 95 applications, and the inspection.

“Delay can’t be the sole ground for bail,” Hossain said.

The ground of delay was not accepted, and the bail of another accused was dismissed on this ground, Hossain said.

The point of delay will be a weighty factor for this court, ED special counsel added.

Hossain submitted that Sisodia and other accused received Rs 100 crores from South groups.

ED’s counsel said that Sisodia is responsible for a policy drafted by many accused persons with the sole purpose of establishing laundered proceeds of crime and increasing the wholesale profit from 5 to 12 percent.

The margin difference is the proceed of crime. Rs. 338 crore would be the proceed of crime during the subsistence of policy, he added.

Special Counsel Hossain said “the kickback alone is not the proceeds of crime in this case. Wholesale profits is the proceed of crime because it are derived from criminal activity. entire wholesale profit, which is difference between 12 and 5 percent, which is 338 crores, would be the proceeds of crime.”

Hossain also mentioned the role of Vijay Nair and said that he is not ordinary worker of AAP but is close associate of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and closely interacts with Sisodia.

Hossain said that Benoy Babu, in his statement, stated that Nair was representing the Delhi excise department as OSD. Hossain referred to a WhatsApp chat between Vijay Nair and Benoy Babu.

Hossain submitted that Vijay Nair had nothing to do with the excise policy. He held the position of media coordinator. But he was used to do billing changing policies, bargaining the bribe, etc.

It was also argued by the ED that there was a political understanding between K Kavitha, Chief Minister Kejriwal and Deputy CM. In terms of that understanding, Kavitha met Nair.

Vijay Nair was acting under the instructions of the accused and other political leaders, Hossain argued.

ED’s counsel submitted that an accused of money laundering need not be accused of a predicate offence. But it is not the case here. Even the mere generation of proceeds from crime would attract the offence of money laundering, as the SC judgement referred to.

Hossain also submitted that the expert committee report was rejected and emails were planted to create a public impression.

ED counsel also submitted that there is destruction of evidence in this case. 170 mobiles were changed or destroyed by accused persons. (ANI)

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