New Delhi: Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court on Friday, March 10, sent Delhi’s former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to seven-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy.
Although the ED had sought 10-day custody, special judge M.K. Nagpal only allowed seven-day custody.
“We want to confront him with other persons who are summoned for questioning. Some of the other officers are summoned. We are hence seeking 10 days,” ED’s counsel, Zoheb Hossain, had said, according to LiveLaw.
Sisodia was arrested by ED on Thursday, March 9, from Tihar jail where he was lodged after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested him on February 26. His bail plea in the CBI case was supposed to come up for hearing today, March 10, however, it has now been postponed to March 20.
Sisodia’s counsel, Dayan Krishnan, said “not a single penny is traced to me [Sisodia]”, opposing the ED’s plea for his custody.
“In money laundering, you’re (judge) expected to look at concealment, possession and use. It has to be traced to the individual. Not a single penny has been traced to me. So they say Vinay Nair portrayed himself as the representative of Manish Sisodia. Laughable to say the least…..We are talking about a premium investigating agency. Why have they not been able to trace a single penny to me?” said Sisodia’s counsel.
Sisodia’s lawyer also slammed the ED for arresting Sisodia a day before his bail plea in the CBI case was to come up for hearing. “It has become a fashion these days that the agencies take arrests as a right. It’s time for the courts to come down heavily on this sense of entitlement,” he said, according to NDTV.
He further said, “I was never summoned by ED, until one fine day, while remand applications were going on in CBI case, my bail application was fixed….one day before hearing of bail application, I’m arrested. ECIR is of August 2022. This kind of conduct must concern the court. The process itself is illegal here….It can’t be that a person is kept in custody in a special Act (PMLA) just to ensure that he does not get bail.”
However, the ED’s counsel alleged that Delhi’s liquor policy was aimed at ensuring undue profits to some select private players without following due process. He also said Sisodia tried hard to “destroy evidence” by destroying 14 phones and only two of them can be traced, and several SIMs were used by Sisodia bought under different names.
“The proceeds of crime are quantified for over Rs 292 crore. Considering the magnitude of the matter, we need to identify the complete modus operandi. We need to confront other persons who we have summoned. We have issued summons to seven persons. Therefore, we are seeking a remand of 10 days,” ED counsel said.
Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal hit out the ED action. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “Manish was earlier arrested by the CBI. The CBI could not find any evidence or money in the raid. Tomorrow, his bail plea is to be heard. Today, he was arrested by the ED. This serves only one motive- to keep Manish Sisodia in jail for as long as possible through false cases. The people are watching and will give a befitting reply.”