Delhi Court Reserves Verdict on Manish Sisodia's Bail Plea in Money Laundering and Corruption Cases

Delhi Court reserves verdict on Manish Sisodia's bail plea in money laundering & corruption cases. Prosecution opposes bail citing Sisodia's political clout & potential influence on investigation. Decision awaited on April 30. Sisodia remains in judicial custody.

A Delhi Court has kept its decision pending on the second regular bail application submitted by former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and Aam Aadmi Party leader, Manish Sisodia, in connection with the ongoing money laundering and corruption cases linked to the liquor policy issue.

Sisodia, who is currently held in judicial custody for both cases, saw the court hearing his plea as Special judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Courts reserved the verdict. The proceedings included arguments presented by Advocate Vivek Jain for Sisodia, Zoheb Hossain representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and prosecutor Pankaj Gupta representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court is set to announce its decision on April 30, marking the culmination of this phase in Sisodia's legal battle. Notably, previous attempts by Sisodia to secure bail in both the ED and CBI cases have been unsuccessful, with rejections from the trial court, the Delhi High Court, and even the Supreme Court.

During the hearing, Sisodia's legal team highlighted the interim bail pleas previously filed to facilitate his participation in campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, with the regular bail plea now under consideration, the interim bail applications were deemed irrelevant.

Pankaj Gupta, the prosecutor representing the CBI, vehemently opposed Sisodia's bail plea, arguing that he does not meet the criteria for bail under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Gupta emphasized Sisodia's perceived political influence, stating, "Sisodia is a powerful person with a 'political clout.'" He further contended that Sisodia's status as the main accused in the case disqualifies him from receiving bail based on parity.

Gupta raised concerns about potential obstruction of justice, alleging that Sisodia may have been involved in destroying evidence and abusing his authority. He stressed the early stage of the investigation, highlighting the importance of preventing interference that could impede progress. Gupta's argument extended to societal implications, citing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's characterization of corruption as "cancer for society."

Expressing apprehension about potential tampering with the investigation and influencing witnesses, Gupta warned against granting bail to Sisodia, given his alleged role as a "mastermind" according to court records. Despite the repeated rejections of bail and dismissal of review and curative petitions by higher courts, the defense urged the court to expedite the decision, citing the prolonged pendency of the case since February.

Sisodia's legal troubles started in February and March last year when he was arrested by the CBI and ED. He's accused of being involved in decisions about the excise policy without proper approval, allegedly favoring specific parties after the tender process. Both agencies claim Sisodia hasn't cooperated with investigations and has been evasive when confronted with evidence.

The Enforcement Directorate, in particular, has alleged a conspiracy to confer undue financial benefits on specific companies through the excise policy, implicating Sisodia and others. The rejection of Sisodia's bail applications by lower courts prompted appeals to the Supreme Court, which also ruled against him.

The upcoming decision on Sisodia's bail plea, set for April 30, will be a crucial turning point in his legal challenges. It could greatly influence the direction of the ongoing cases against him.