No money traced to Sisodia, no proof Nair worked on his behalf: His counsel to court

New Delhi | Updated: 10 March, 2023 3:43 pm IST
Delhi Dy CM Manish Sisodia (file photo)

Embattled former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, while opposing a plea for his custody, on Friday challenged the ED to prove that he was a beneficiary of the alleged corruption in the liquor policy case.

While opposing the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) application for a 10-day remand of Sisodia, his lawyer Dayan Krishnan submitted before a Delhi court, “Not a single Rupee has been traced to me.”

“They (the ED) say Vijay Nair was acting on my (Sisodia’s) behalf. Why have they not been able to trace even a single Rupee to me?” Krishnan said.

The ED has alleged that AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair acted as a middleman for granting a licence to the so-called South Group – an alleged cartel of politicians and businessmen in South India – for kickbacks to Sisodia.

In its plea, the directorate sought 10-day remand of Sisodia to trace the money trail involved in the alleged corruption in the formation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

Arguing his case, Sisodia’s lawyer urged the court to take a serious view of his arrest by the ED just a day before it was scheduled to hear his bail application in the CBI case related to the Delhi liquor policy.

“It has become a fashion these days that the agencies take arrests as a right. It’s time for the courts to come down heavily on this sense of entitlement,” Krishnan told the court.

Arguing that the CBI is investigating a predicate offence, he further said, “What the ED stated today is, in fact, the CBI’s case. Without the proceeds of the alleged crime, the ED can’t start its investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.”

The agency pointed out discrepancies in granting a licence to Indospirits, a liquor distribution firm booked by the CBI in course of its probe into the case, saying that the application for a licence to it was “processed at jet speed”.

In response, Sisodia’s counsel said, “Even demonetisation was brought in haste and the Supreme Court has held it constitutional.”

It also submitted before the court that the senior AAP leader used SIM cards and phones purchased in the name of others so as not to leave any trace of his involvement. “14 phones used by him were destroyed within one year,” the agency revealed.

The large-scale destruction of evidence needs to be considered in this case, the agency said while making a case for Sisodia’s remand.

“We need to interrogate and unearth the entire scam. We want to unearth the entire modus operandi. We need to confront him with some other people. Therefore we need custody of 10 days,” his counsel told the court.

In its argument, the ED said that Sisodia, who was arrested following eight hours of questioning by the ED on Thursday, “remained untrue and has given answers contrary to the statement given to independent people”.

Sisodia was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 in the liquor policy case and is currently in 14-day judicial custody.

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