Manish Sisodia's bail: Singhvi expressed concern over media reports on the case during the hearing in the Supreme Court


Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi in the Supreme Court, appearing for former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the bail case, expressed concern about the media discussion on the merits of the ongoing legal cases while the courts are hearing these cases.

He told the court that news articles about Sisodia's case appeared shortly before his case was listed in the court. He said he would present a chart showing publication dates and court postings.

A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice SVN Bhatti was hearing Sisodia's plea against the Delhi High Court's denial of bail to him in both the CBI and ED cases. The Supreme Court issued notice on their petitions on July 14 last month.

The former deputy chief minister is facing charges of money laundering and corruption for alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the now defunct liquor policy in the national capital. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been in custody since February this year and is being investigated by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

At the last moment, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi had requested for interim bail on humanitarian grounds, so that Sisodia could be allowed to meet his ailing wife. However, Justice Khanna said that the CBI had said in its counter affidavit that Sisodia's wife was suffering from illness for the last two decades.

Singhvi said he has a degenerative disease which is progressive and he was hospitalized twice in the past few months. Nevertheless, the division bench decided to consider the interim bail plea along with the regular bail plea at a later date.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, for the state, insisted that Sisodia's wife should undergo an independent assessment at AIIMS. But the bench suggested that as long as she is consulting a reputed doctor, it should not be insisted upon. Notably, Justice Khanna also stressed the importance of understanding how the money trail was established and urged the CBI to clarify this aspect.

The division bench adjourned the hearing on the joint request of Singhvi and Raju.

Singhvi told the bench,

"We have agreed, even though (Sisodia) is in jail. The hearing from my side will take at least two to three hours. My Lord will have to give a day for it. We are urgent. Will My Lord accommodate us on October 4? "Can? This is a matter that requires your immediate attention."

Notably, Singhvi also shared his doubts about the merits of the case being dissected regularly by newspapers and news channels.

He said,

"Every day when the case is listed or any other matter there is an article in the newspaper talking about the merits. The next court is considering how to make media guidelines regarding subjudice cases. I I am making a mapping chart. But in the right column my lord is the date and on the left is the publication. I am making this chart."

Justice Khanna said,

"It doesn't affect us. We have to get used to it." It is noteworthy that two days ago, on September 15, the CJI-led bench had expressed concern about 'media-trial' and directed the Union Home Ministry to prepare guidelines for police media briefing.

Background of the case

The crux of the controversy is the excise policy made by the national capital Delhi government in 2021 to boost revenue and reform the liquor trade, which was later withdrawn after allegations of irregularities in implementation were raised and Lieutenant Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena appealed to the Central Government. The Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was ordered to investigate this policy. The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation claimed that the policy sought to completely privatize the liquor trade in the national capital. It was used to give undue favors to private entities at the expense of the public exchequer and lead to corruption. Currently investigation is going on. Apart from others, former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and prominent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia was also arrested.

Manish Sisodia was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on February 26 in a case related to excise policy and later by the Enforcement Directorate on March 9. The First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the CBI has accused Sisodia and others of "making 'recommendations' and 'decisions' with respect to the Liquor Policy 2021-22 without the approval of the competent authority with the intention of extending undue favor to the licensee after the tender." Lene'. The central agency also claimed that the AAP leader was arrested because he gave vague answers and refused to cooperate with the investigation despite evidence coming to light. .

On the other hand, the Enforcement Directorate alleged that the excise policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give 12 percent profit in wholesale trade to some private companies. However, no such condition was mentioned in the Minutes of Meetings (GoM) of the Group of Ministers.

The agency also claimed that there was a conspiracy by Vijay Nair and other persons with South Group to give extraordinary profit margins to wholesalers. According to the agency, Nair was working on behalf of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Sisodia's bail pleas in both the cases—investigated by the CBI and ED respectively—were rejected by special judge MK Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi on March 31 and April 28.

Sisodia's bail pleas in both the cases—investigated by the CBI and ED respectively—were rejected by special judge MK Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi on March 31 and April 28. Last month, on July 3, the Delhi High Court had refused bail to Sisodia in a money laundering case related to the implementation of the previous liquor policy in the national capital. Earlier on May 30, the High Court had rejected his bail plea in the corruption case registered by CBI regarding liquor policy.

The former plaintiff has approached the Supreme Court challenging both these decisions.

Case title

1. Manish Sisodia vs Central Bureau of Investigation. Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 8167 2023

2. Manish Sisodia vs Enforcement Directorate. Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 8188, 2023