New Delhi: Former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was on Monday sent to judicial custody until March 20 in the excise policy case by a Delhi court after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it did not require custody of him for now.
Sisodia, who was arrested by the central agency on February 26, was produced before Rouse avenue court special judge M.K. Nagpal after the expiry of the remand for seven-day custodial interrogation.
According to Bar and Bench, the CBI’s counsel said the agency does not require further custody at the moment but may in the future. The lawyer also claimed that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders are “politicising the matter” and witnesses are “terrified” because the media is giving “political colour” to the case.
Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for Sisodia, said he was “appalled” by the CBI’s argument.
“I am appalled by submission like this. Are they scared of media?” he asked.
The judge said he cannot stop the media from reporting on the matter and the court cannot be concerned about protests by AAP workers as long as they are peaceful.
“If media is reporting, they are reporting. As long as protests are peaceful, it is fine,” the court said, according to Bar and Bench.
The judge also allowed Sisodia to carry the Bhagavad Gita, spectacles, medicine and some other items to jail, while directing the Tihar jail authorities to consider his request to do Vipassana meditation.
The allegation against Sisodia and other members of the AAP is that they granted liquor licenses to certain traders in exchange for bribes.
The excise policy was tweaked to benefit certain traders and kickbacks were received in exchange, the agency claims.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI have registered cases in relation with the alleged scam after Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) V.K. Saxena recommended a probe.
AAP has denied the allegations and Sisodia maintains he is innocent. The former Delhi deputy CM said that the policy and the changes were approved by the LG.