28 April 2023 2:02 PM GMT
Dismissing his bail plea in the money laundering case connected to the alleged excise policy scam, a Delhi Court on Friday said that former Delhi Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was not only the architect of the conspiracy but also "the brain behind insertion of clauses of 12% profit margin for wholesalers and of enhancement of eligibility criteria for wholesalers from Rs....
Dismissing his bail plea in the money laundering case connected to the alleged excise policy scam, a Delhi Court on Friday said that former Delhi Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was not only the architect of the conspiracy but also "the brain behind insertion of clauses of 12% profit margin for wholesalers and of enhancement of eligibility criteria for wholesalers from Rs. 100 crores to Rs. 500 crores."
"This court is not inclined to grant bail to the applicant in this case of economic offences having serious repercussions upon the general public and society at large as the evidence collected during investigation speaks volumes of his involvement in commission of the said offence," said the court
The evidence placed on record clearly shows the vital and important role played by Sisodia in formulation of the criminal conspiracy and formation of cartel for commission of scheduled offences of the CBI case, said the court.
"It clearly emerges out from the evidence placed before the court that the applicant herein was connected with generation of proceeds of crime of around Rs. 100 crores in the form of advance kickbacks, which were paid by the South lobby to the co-accused Vijay Nair, through the co-accused Abhishek Boinpally, who had been participating in the above said meetings held with different conspirators and stakeholders in liquor business and the said amount was received by him on behalf of this applicant and his other political colleagues for extending undue pecuniary benefits to the conspirators and members of the cartel, which was permitted to be formed by manipulation of some provisions of the excise policy and by insertion of some favourable clauses therein for the benefit of conspirators."
Special Judge M. K. Nagpal in the order said that all this was done without any discussions and due deliberations in the meetings of Group of Ministers (GoM) and even the concerned department of excise was not taken into confidence before doing it and no records, report or data etc. was gathered or called from the department before introducing the clauses in the GoM report, which ultimately came to be incorporated in excise policy of the government.
"This applicant was responsible for changing the GoM report unilaterally to suit the requirements of South lobby as the draft GoM report is also alleged to have been shared with members of the South lobby staying in Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi during the relevant period and another GoM report containing the above favourable clauses was got prepared by the applicant as per wishes and desires of the members of said lobby," observed the court.
It further said that the role played by Sisodia in grant of L1 license to the alleged multi purpose vehicle or firm M/S Indospirits, in pursuance of the "conspiracy for formation of the cartel", is also clear from the allegations and observations of the court in the earlier order by which he was denied bail in the CBI case.
"...and it has been submitted on behalf of the ED that the said firm was able to earn huge profits of around Rs. 192 crores during the short duration of around 89 months of operation of the said policy against nominal investments by partners thereof," said the court.
The court also said that it has been "rightly claimed on behalf of the ED" that prima facie even the kickback amount of Rs. 100 crores was paid to co-accused Vijay Nair by the South lobby for Sisodia as well as his other colleagues in the GNCTD as Nair represented them in the meetings during formulation of the policy.
Judge Nagpal also said that statements made Under Section 50 of the PMLA by the witnesses and even by the co-accused prior to their arrest can be seen by the court for the purposes of deciding the bail application. "Moreover, as already discussed, such statements do find sufficient corroboration from the digital and other documentary evidence collected during the course of investigation," he said.
The court said simply because the maximum term of imprisonment prescribed for the alleged offence is seven years, it is also not a ground to enlarge the applicant on bail. All the factors are required to be considered in totality by the court to arrive at a conclusion for granting bail to the accused or otherwise, it added.
"Seriousness or gravity of the offence and its nature or category, the capacity of applicant in which it has been committed, the manner of its commission and also certain other factors like impact of the offence as well as the possible impact of release of applicant on society etc. are the factors which go against the applicant and force this court to decide against his release on bail in the present case," said the court.
The court also took note of the allegations that some part of the kickback or bribe amount allegedly received from South lobby was spent or utilized in connection with election campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party in Goa and some "cash payments through hawala channels" are alleged to have been sent to Goa for bearing the expenses and even some fake invoices are alleged to have been created as a cover up for the cash amounts transferred through hawala channels.
"It is stated that the above cash transfers were made as per instructions of the co-accused Vijay Nair, who was the representative of applicant and the AAP and also the Media Incharge of AAP and looking after the work related to said elections and he also roped in a company named M/S Chariot Productions Media Pvt. Ltd. owned by the coaccused Rajesh Joshi to do the election related advertising work and other jobs for the party during said elections," said the court.
Title: Manish Sisodia Vs. Directorate of Enforcement/Enforcement Directorate (DoE/ED)
Click Here To Read Order