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Explainer: Sanjay Singh’s bail and possible internal dilemma of AAP leadership

More than meets the eye—the SC on Tuesday granted bail to Sanjay Singh but the bail order may not be of much help to other jailed AAP leaders, including Kejriwal

Explainer: Sanjay Singh’s bail and possible internal dilemma of AAP leadership

Sanjay Singh.

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, April 3

“Big day for democracy in the country, Satyameva Jayate”, AAP leaders said on the Supreme Court's bail to senior party colleague Sanjay Singh’s bail, claiming that the order “exposed” that the entire liquor scam case was based on statements “extorted” from witnesses and approvers.

Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case linked to the now-scrapped excise policy on October 4.

“This is a big day for democracy in the country and a moment of happiness and hope,” Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said with colleague Atishi adding that for two years AAP leaders were being "targeted in fake cases and arrested".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was arrested by the ED in the excise policy case, was on Monday sent to judicial custody till April 15.

More than meets the eye

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in the money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy scam after the ED said it had no objection to him being released on bail.

The SC Bench said the concession of bail granted to Sanjay Singh will not be treated as “precedent”, a reason why experts believe that the bail order may not help other jailed AAP leaders, including Kejriwal. The SC also said that Singh can continue with his political activities but cannot make any statements related to the case.

Now this is what happened in ‘pratyaksha’, that is what is perceptible to the eye or visible or within the range of sight.

However, in politics, what happens behind is often more important.

Sensing a “BJP hand” some analysts say ED’s move appeared to have many nuances, including “helping throw AAP’s plan after Kejriwal’s arrest into a quandary”.

Talking point—BJP ‘misusing ED’

Now according to observers, the ED saying it had no objection to Sanjay Singh’s being released on bail took away the favorite talking point of the opposition that the ruling BJP was using the investigating agencies to target rivals and finish off all competition ahead of upcoming elections.

Therefore in one stroke, that talking point appeared to have lost its bite.

AAP’s internal politics

Next, of course, is AAP’s internal politics.

After the arrest of Kejriwal, wife Sunita Kejriwal was calling the shots and, some say, even preparing to take up his job as the chief minister of Delhi.

Will that be possible now that Sanjay Singh is out on bail, which remains to be seen?

Now that Sanjay Singh is available to run the party, Sunita Kejriwal may not be able to take decisions unilaterally, observers feel. AAP's top leadership landing in the jail had catapulted AAP ministers Saurabh Bharadwaj and Atishi into sudden prominence, the question is will they take a back seat now.

Sanjay Singh is number three

After Kejriwal and his number two, former deputy CM Manish Sisodia, in jail Sanjay Singh is the virtual number three in AAP hierarchy with complete control over cadres.

Those who follow AAP’s politics say with Sanjay Singh in control of the party, Sunita Kejriwal may no longer be able to have the free run she has been having till now or implement “Kejriwal’s moves from inside jail”.

“Sanjay Singh is someone who has the same stature as Kejriwal and Sisodia. He may not become the CM of Delhi but certainly can influence who gets the post,” they say

Palace politics

According to the ED, Kejriwal had named Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj during interrogation

On being asked about the level of interaction with Vijay Nair, a co-accused in liquor policy case, ED quoted Kejriwal as saying that Nair did not report to him but to Aatishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj and his interaction with him was limited.

Nair is the former communication-in-charge of the AAP and is among the accused in the liquor policy case.

AAP leader Jasmine Shah called the ED’s claim “laughable”

According to Shah, Nair had already revealed that he did not report to Kejriwal when he was first detained.

However, Atishi’s allegation that the central government planned to jail the next line of AAP leaders after Kejriwal is also interesting. Atishi claimed that investigative agencies will soon arrest her, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak and Raghav Chadha ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP sends legal notice to Atishi

Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP is said to have sent a legal notice to Atishi over her claim that the BJP approached her and told her to join the party or face jail.

“This time we won't let her escape. She has to answer and provide evidence for what she is claiming. We asked her to apologise by the evening (Tuesday). She didn't and so we have sent her a legal notice to which she will have to reply within 15 days,” Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva was quoted as saying.

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The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

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