Delhi Excise Policy case: Court extends Manish Sisodia’s custody

ED sought 7-day remand of former Delhi Dy CM Manish Sisodia; Delhi court granted custody till March 21

| Updated: 17 March, 2023 7:19 pm IST
Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia at the Rouse Avenue Court (file photo)

The former Deputy Chief minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, will have to spend five more days in jail after the Rouse Avenue Court, on Friday, March 17, extended his custody in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy case. 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the financial angle in the case, said that it needs to interrogate the senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader further in the money laundering angle in the case. 

Earlier, the ED produced Sisodia before the court after his seven days of custody ended today. The agency also demanded another seven-day custody for Sisodia. 

The ED informed the court that it needed more time to question Sisodia, who was first arrested on February 26 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and by ED on March 9, as new findings had come to light. 

“During the investigation, it has come to light that he (Sisodia) was using a mobile phone for a long time. This is a fresh finding,” ED counsel said. “When we asked him about a change of phone, he was unable to answer where the phone is currently and when it was disposed of. The timing of device changes is important,” he added.  

“We have taken multiple statements from Sisodia and confronted him with three persons, including the Excise Commissioner and an IAS officer who was present in all GOMs,” ED counsel told the court. 

ED counsel added that Sisodia has to be confronted by one of the individuals, Alok Srivastava, from the Excise Department. The counsel also said that the agency needs to confront Sisodia with C Arvind, who was Sisodia’s secretary, again in regard to a certain email sent to the expert committee. 

The ED counsel also said that it has taken multiple statements from Arava Gopi Krishna, then Excise Commissioner, and others. C Arvind and Sanjay Goel, two IAS officers, were present in all the GoM meetings. 

“Persons needed to be confronted are Dinesh Arora (businessman) and one more individual,” the ED counsel further said. 

ED counsel further stated that Srivatsava revealed certain facts while C Arvind was giving instructions on the directions of Sisodia, who was also the Delhi Excise minister. 

While calling for extending Sisodia’s custody, ED said that it is analysing the forensic data related to the case. “Forensic data are quite voluminous as there are over one lakh emails,” the agency said. 

ED counsel also said that a file note, that was last updated in March 2021, was about the wholesale profit margin of 5 per cent which was changed to 12 per cent later in a few days. 

“Incidentally, the members of the South Group were staying in the Oberoi hotel in 2021. The business centre of the hotel was used by the members. During custodial interrogation, we recorded his statement. We are waiting for a mail dump from CBI, said ED counsel in court,” the ED informed the court. 

Opposing the ED custody of Sisodia, his counsel, Mohit Mathur, said, “Are we hearing a CBI remand or ED remand? All these facts were part of the CBI application as well as their first application.” 

Sisodia’s counsel also said that one agency had taken an email dump and interrogated him in October last year. “Did it take them so much time to again take the mail dump and seek remand?” Mathur asked. 

“My (Sisodia’s) computer was seized, investigated and forensically examined by one agency. Now another agency wants to replicate the whole process again,” ED counsel said. 

Mathur also argued that they (ED) have to show the proceeds of the crime and how I (Sisodia) am involved in it. 

“If they investigate for seven months and then come to court seeking my (Sisodia’s) remand, then they have to do something. That is why I have moved this application opposing remand. They need to tell the court what they have done regarding the aspect of the proceeds of crime. Are they proxy agencies of the CBI? They have to show the proceeds of the crime, not the crime itself. CBI calls the same people and so do these people.” 

Following the arguments between the two counsels, Sisodia addressed the court and said that they (ED) interrogated him for half an hour and then took a break. 

Sisodia further told the court that in the first half, there was no questioning and in the second half, they questioned him for over half an hour to an hour. 

Countering the argument, ED counsel said that during the CBI case, they (Sisodia and his team) alleged that they were mentally harassed because of the long hours of questioning.

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