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Delhi HC Reserves Verdict on Manish Sisodia’s Bail Petition; ED Claims AAP Will Be Named in Liquor Policy Case

15 May 2024: The Delhi High Court has reserved its verdict on the bail petition of former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the alleged Delhi Liquor Policy scam. The court heard arguments from both Sisodia’s lawyers and the counsels representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). While the ED and CBI discussed the merits of the case, Sisodia’s counsel focused on delays in the trial and referenced the Supreme Court’s October 2023 order, which had rejected Sisodia’s bail but allowed for a fresh application if the trial proceeded slowly.

Sisodia’s counsel argued that the ongoing arrests in the case indicated a long wait for trial commencement, thus justifying bail. The Supreme Court had noted in October 2023 that Sisodia could reapply for bail if the trial moved at a “snail’s pace” over the next three months. The ED, however, maintained that trial delay was just one factor in bail decisions, emphasizing the case’s merits.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma highlighted the differing interpretations of the Supreme Court’s ruling by both parties. The ED revealed plans to name the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a co-accused in its next chargesheet, further complicating the case.

Earlier, Sisodia’s counsel, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, challenged the trial court’s assertion that Sisodia and other accused were intentionally delaying the trial. The high court also questioned the trial court’s reasoning, particularly how applications by Sisodia could be deemed as causing delays. In response, the ED suggested that while they could not control the trial judge’s framing of the verdict, the high court could consider revising it.

The trial court had previously stated that numerous applications filed by the accused aimed to delay proceedings, with Sisodia filing 13 of the 38 applications. These included requests to visit his ailing wife and address banking issues, which were approved by the court. Krishnan argued that these approved applications should not be held against Sisodia.

A special bench of the trial court had rejected Sisodia’s bail plea, noting a pattern of frequent and sometimes frivolous applications by the accused to delay the case. Despite these efforts, the court remarked that the case was progressing steadily, not at a “snail’s pace.”

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