5 Jun 2023 8:48 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Monday denied interim bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the money laundering case related to the implementation of previous liquor policy in national capital.Sisodia had sought interim bail for a period of six weeks in view of the poor health condition of his wife. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma had reserved the order on...
The Delhi High Court on Monday denied interim bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the money laundering case related to the implementation of previous liquor policy in national capital.
Sisodia had sought interim bail for a period of six weeks in view of the poor health condition of his wife.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma had reserved the order on the interim bail application in a special Saturday hearing last week. The court had also called for a medical report of Sisodia’s wife from LNJP hospital, where she was admitted.
The court observed that the allegations against Sisodia are extremely serious in nature and that it cannot forget the positions held by him.
“Taking into account the totality of facts and circumstances, this court, therefore, finds it very difficult to persuade itself to release the petitioner on interim bail for six weeks,” the court said.
However, the court directed that Sisodia be taken to the residence or the hospital between 10 AM to 5 PM, any day as per his wife’s convenience.
However, during this period, the petitioner shall not interact with media in any manner nor shall he meet anybody except his wife or members of his family. The Commissioner of Delhi Police is also directed to ensure that there should not be any media gathering near the vicinity of his residence or the hospital where he is taken. The petitioner shall also not use any phone or internet,” the court added.
Justice Sharma noted that the medical report of LNJP hospital concluded that the medical condition of Sisodia’s wife has improved but she requires close monitoring. The court also noted that as per the report, she was conscious and her blood pressure and pulse rate was also stable.
However, taking note of the serious disease of Sisodia’s wife, the court directed: “This court would direct and expect that best of the medical treatment should be provided to Mrs.Seema Sisodia. Though, it is the choice of the patient and the members of her family that from where the treatment is to be taken, but this court as a guardian of the administration of justice would suggest that Mrs.Seema Sisodia may be examined by Board of Doctors to be constituted by the Medical Superintendant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) which is a premier medical institute of this court. Mrs. Seema Sisodia or the members of her family attending to her may contact the office of the M.S., AIIMS for the medical examination and treatment.”
Justice Sharma also said that the patient who is in need of medical attention must be provided with effective treatment.
On Friday, Sisodia was permitted to meet his wife today between 10 AM and 5 PM but was directed not to interact with media or use his mobile phone. However, while arguing his interim bail application, Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur submitted that Sisodia could not meet her as she was taken to LNJP hospital on Saturday morning as her condition had worsened.
On the other hand, Advocate Zoheb Hossain appearing for ED had vehemently opposed the interim bail plea on the ground that Sisodia’s wife has been suffering from the ailment for last 20 years and that similar application moved by him on identical ground was withdrawn earlier.
Hossain also said that except for one paragraph, the entire application for interim bail is similar to the one which was filed earlier and said that there is no change in circumstances.
He further submitted that the day the judgment in service case was delivered by the Supreme Court, there was “unauthorized removal” of some files from the office of Special Secretary of Vigilance, including some documents pertaining to the excise policy.
Hossain had further said that Sisodia held multiple portfolios including some “heavy ministries” in the Delhi cabinet and thus, he could not have been the sole caretaker of his wife and that there were other people taking care of her.
“Six weeks (as sought by Sisodia) makes no realistic difference except for him. The difference is for him only,” Hossain had said.
It was submitted that the mandatory twin conditions under PMLA must be kept in while even when the court is considering relief on humanitarian grounds. He said that there are allegations of influencing witnesses against Sisodia and referred to statements of two witnesses.
Opposing the submissions, Mathur had said: “Are we trying to say that a person’s life is so worthless that the husband, even when suffering imprisonment, shall not be entitled to have him to take care of her? Where are we heading with this? The jurisdiction is totally different. Your lordships had granted liberty to him considering the ailment that let him see her.”
Sisodia had previously also filed interim bail applications in both the cases but withdrew them later in view of the fact that the condition of his wife was stable.
Justice Sharma recently denied Sisodia bail in the CBI case.
The AAP leader was arrested by the CBI on February 26. It is the case of the probe agency that there were irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy for the year 2021-22.
The CBI alleged that Sisodia was arrested as he gave evasive replies and did not cooperate with the investigation despite being confronted with evidence.
The CBI FIR states that Sisodia and others were instrumental in “recommending and taking decisions” regarding the excise policy 2021-22 “without approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licensee post tender.”
On the other hand, ED has alleged that the excise policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12% to certain private companies. It has said that such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of Group of Ministers (GoM).
The agency has also claimed that there was a conspiracy which was coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with South Group to give extraordinary profit margin to wholesalers. Nair was acting on behalf of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, according to the agency.
Title: Manish Sisodia v. ED
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 494
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