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Manish Sisodia Faces Allegations of Deliberately Delaying Trial in Delhi Excise Policy Case

ED Accuses Manish Sisodia and Co-Accused of Attempting to Stall Legal Proceedings, Bail Plea Opposed

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conveyed to a Delhi Court on Saturday that the accused, including former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, were actively seeking to prolong the trial in the Delhi excise policy case.

ED Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain began presenting arguments against Sisodia’s bail plea before Special Judge (PC Act) Kaveri Baweja at the Rouse Avenue Courts. Hossain argued that a total of 95 applications were submitted by 31 accused in the case over recent weeks.

Hossain highlighted that these applications, some duplicative or piecemeal, were contributing to unnecessary delays and described this as a concerted effort by the accused to stall the trial process. He emphasized that the blame for any delays lies with the accused, not the prosecution.

Sisodia has been in custody since February last year in connection with the ED’s case related to alleged irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy of 2021-22, which originated from a FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2022. The FIR alleged kickbacks received by AAP leaders from liquor manufacturers through this policy.

At least 16 individuals have been arrested in connection with the case, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha.

Sisodia was initially arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, followed by his arrest by the ED on March 9 of the same year. Despite repeated bail pleas rejected by various courts, Sisodia filed fresh bail applications before the trial court last month.

During the recent hearing, Hossain also referenced the Supreme Court’s stance on bail for Sisodia, emphasizing that while delay in trial can be considered, it cannot be the sole basis for bail.

The ED counsel will continue presenting arguments on April 10, while Sisodia’s judicial custody has been extended until April 18.

In previous proceedings, Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Sisodia, argued that the alleged scam did not cause any loss to the public exchequer. Mathur asserted that Sisodia meets the conditions for bail and poses no threat to influencing witnesses.

He pointed out that despite being accused of holding a significant position, Sisodia had complied with all directives and had been in custody for 13 months without interim bail.

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