Manish Sisodia’s Judicial Custody Extended in Money Laundering Case Linked to Delhi Excise Policy

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Former Delhi deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, has had his judicial custody extended until June 1 by a Delhi court in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The case is connected to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. Special judge MK Nagpal made the decision after Sisodia appeared before the court in person.

During the short proceedings, the court instructed the jail superintendent to consider Sisodia’s request to exchange the books he has finished reading during his time in custody for a new set of books approved by the court. Additionally, the special judge directed the superintendent to consider Sisodia’s plea for a table and chair in his prison cell. Sisodia was initially arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 in relation to the excise policy case. He was later arrested by the ED on March 9 after being questioned for eight hours in Tihar jail. Currently, Sisodia remains in judicial custody, as his bail applications in both the CBI and ED cases have been rejected by the trial court. His appeals are currently pending in the high court.On May 4, the ED filed its fifth charge sheet in the case, designating Sisodia as the “main accused.”

The agency alleges that Sisodia, along with other AAP leaders, engaged in a criminal conspiracy to extract kickbacks from liquor businesses through the excise policy. Sisodia has vehemently denied all charges, and the AAP party has labeled the case as a politically motivated witch hunt. The Delhi government’s 2021-22 excise policy aimed to revitalize the city’s struggling liquor business by introducing a license fee-based system and improving the overall customer experience. However, the policy was prematurely scrapped due to alleged irregularities, following a probe recommended by Delhi’s lieutenant governor VK Saxena. It was replaced by the 2020-21 regime. The court has reserved its decision on taking cognizance of the ED’s chargesheet.

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