New Delhi, February 12
Arrested for his alleged role in the now scrapped Delhi excise policy scam, former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia was on Monday granted three-day interim bail by a city court to attend his niece’s wedding.
Sisodia had sought five-day bail from February 12 to February 16 on the ground that he has to perform certain rituals in the February 14 marriage in Lucknow as the only male member of the family even as the CBI and the ED opposed his plea.
Special judge MK Nagpal, however, granted interim bail to Sisodia only for three days from February 13 to February 15 .
As the court asked if he would be okay with police officers being present at the wedding ceremony, his counsel said, “No. It will spoil the atmosphere. Even if I get three days that is fine… but not with cops going with me… Don’t humiliate my family by sending cops with me,” his counsel said.
Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023 for his alleged role in the ‘scam’ and he resigned from the Delhi cabinet two days later. The ED arrested him in a money-laundering case related to the scam on March 9, 2023 after questioning him in Tihar Jail.
The Delhi government had implemented the new excise policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption. The profit margin of wholesalers was increased from 5 per cent to 12 per cent under the new policy, the probe agencies alleged.
Sisodia is accused of extra-procedural interference in framing the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy by tweaking it for the benefit of select liquor entities, causing loss of several hundred crores to the state exchequer.
The new policy resulted in cartelisation and those ineligible for liquor licences were favoured for monetary benefits, the agencies alleged. However, Sisodia denied any wrongdoing and claimed the new policy would have led to an increase in the city government’s revenue.
In July 2022, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar had sent a report to Lt. Governor VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagging “deviations” from laid-down procedures in the formulation of the excise policy in NCT Delhi. Kumar had flagged the apparent reversal of Sisodia’s earlier policy on dry days. The extension of the licence period without an increase in fee prima facie led to “undue benefit” to licensees without “any justification”, it was alleged.
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