Delhi excise policy case: No relief for Manish Sisodia from SC

Bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha refused to entertain Delhi Deputy CM’s plea

NEW DELHI | Updated: 28 February, 2023 6:27 pm IST
SC bench refused to entertain Manish Sisodia's plea

In a major setback to Delhi Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 28, refused to entertain his plea challenging his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy case.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said that it could not intervene merely because the arrest had happened in New Delhi.

“We will be asked to intervene in every such case… we cannot intervene in this,” CJI Chandrachud said. “Just because an incident happened in Delhi does not mean this case will come before the Supreme Court,” Justice Narasimha said.

The bench said that Sisodia, one of the key leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has alternative remedies and, therefore, rejected the plea. “The petitioner has efficacious alternative remedies… We are not inclined to entertain this under Article 32,” the bench said in its order.

Appearing for Sisodia, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the first information report (FIR) in the case was registered in August 2022 and that Sisodia had cooperated with the probe. “This is for an FIR in August 2022. For this FIR, Manish Sisodia was summoned only twice, and he attended both,” he said.

Singhvi also said that Sisodia is a minister, he is not a flight risk, and hence the triple test laid down in the Arnesh Kumar judgment has to be satisfied.

“As in the Arnesh Kumar case, there is a necessity for arrest when the triple test is satisfied. I am established in society, and I hold 18 portfolios (in the Delhi government),” Sisodia mentioned before his submission in court.

Sisodia’s team also argued that the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy was approved by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi himself. However, it was not enough to impress the bench, which refused to entertain his petition.

Sisodia, who is one of the key accused in the case, was remanded to CBI custody till March 4 by a Delhi court.

Sisodia was arrested by the central investigation agency on Sunday after eight hours of interrogation.

The CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered cases in relation to the alleged scam in the framing of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. It comes after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI probe based on a report prepared by the Delhi chief secretary. The report claimed that Sisodia violated statutory provisions and notified a policy that had significant financial implications.

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