New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Wednesday sent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to judicial custody till April 5 in the excise policy case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
On the expiry of Sisodia’s ED custody, which was extended on March 17, he was produced before Special Judge M.K. Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court. The judge said: “We will send him to judicial custody till April 5.”
Sisodia is already in judicial custody in the corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Sisodia, however, urged the court to allow him to carry some religious and spiritual books during his judicial custody.
The court then asked him to move an application in this regard.
Sisodia on Tuesday moved a bail plea in the same court in the ED case and the court while issuing notice to the central agency, listed the matter for the next hearing on March 25.
The court had, on Monday, sent Sisodia to judicial custody till April 3, in the same case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
After the CBI arrested Sisodia on February 26, the ED also arrested him in the same case on March 9.
During the last hearing in the ED case, the court was apprised by the ED that important details have come up during Sisodia’s custody and he had to be confronted with other accused persons.
The probe agency had informed the court that voluminous data from Sisodia’s email and mobile, etc. is also being forensically analyzed.
Sisodia’s counsel, however, had opposed the central agency’s remand plea saying that there is not a whisper from the agency regarding the proceeds of the crime, which is fundamental to the case.
His lawyer had further contended that there is no justification in seeking an extension of custody and that Sisodia was confronted only with four people during his earlier custody of seven days.
The ED had said that they need to unearth the modus operandi, the entire scam and confront Sisodia with some other people.
ED’s counsel Zoheb Hossain, while claiming that Sisodia was a part of the “money laundering nexus” had said that the movement of tainted money through hawala channels was also being probed.
Hossain had submitted that the policy was formulated to ensure that certain private entities got huge benefits and that one of the biggest cartels was made to operate 30 percent of the liquor business in Delhi.
Referring to the meetings between the restaurants association and Sisodia, the ED had alleged that relaxations were given to the restaurants in excise policy like reducing the legal age of drinking and other things.
The central agency had argued that Sisodia had destroyed the evidence.
“Within a span of one year, 14 phones have been destroyed and changed,” the agency claimed.
“Sisodia has used phones purchased by others and SIM cards that are not in his name so that he can use them as a defense later. Even the phone used by him is not in his name,” the ED counsel had submitted.
He (Sisodia) has been evasive from the start, the ED had alleged.
There was a conspiracy behind framing the excise policy. The conspiracy was coordinated by Vijay Nair, along with others and the excise policy was brought out for extraordinary profit margin for wholesalers, the ED had argued in the court.