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Delhi Excise policy: Court sends Manish Sisodia to five-day CBI custody

News Agencies | Updated on: 27 February 2023, 19:21 IST
manish sisodia

The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday granted 5 days remand of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to the CBI till March 4, to interrogate him in the excise policy case.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on Sunday.

Special CBI Judge MK Nagpal granted the remand of Sisodia after hearing the arguments of CBI and defence counsels at length .While seeking five days' remand the CBI's public prosecutor submitted before the court that Manish Sisodia was heading the Group of Ministers (GOM).

It is a case of increasing the profit margin from 5 per cent to 12 per cent and benefiting the liquor manufacturer. "Two draft policies were recovered from his computer in 2021. In one, the percentage of Commission was 5 per cent. In another policy the percentage of profit was 12 per cent. During the investigation, he could not explain why the changes were made. The conspiracy was hatched in a very secret manner," CBI alleged.

The agency alleged Sisodia directed excise officials to issue licence to Indo Spirit which was also in touch with the southern group. The CBI also said that Delhi Deputy CM changed his phones multiple times. It was also submitted Vijay Nair was very active and had a meeting with the south group people at the Oberoi Hotel and CCTV and evidence were checked and collected.

Nair sought illegal gratification from the south group, the CBI alleged.In this case, two public officers also made the accused.The court asked CBI "Why custody of the accused is required?"The public prosecutor submitted that for effective investigation custodial interrogation was required. "He is not answering and his answers are evasive," CBI said.On the other hand, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan appearing for Sisodia vehemently opposed the CBI custody."Let them show a single call with my client, any meeting with my client," Advocate Kirshnan argued."If he is not giving the desired answers, it cannot be a ground for remand. I am a minister of finance and education. There are many things in the phone. It cannot be given at any shop for repair," the senior advocate argued.

Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan also argued that CBI must show what calls and meetings related to Sisodia the agency have. The senior counsel further said that Sisodia changed his phone and did not give it to the CBI. He was interrogated and confronted. "If he is giving evasive reply and cooperating, it cannot be ground for seeking police custody," Advocate Krishnan argued.

Interrogation cannot be self-incriminating, the senior counsel said. CBI raided Sisodia's house and office and all his phones are with the agency, the counsel submitted. This was a policy approved by the Delhi LG and did not raise any objection, the council said.

Senior advocate Mohit Mathur appearing for Sisodia submitted that In May 2021 the LG approved the policy. There were suggestions given by the LG, those were incorporated into the policy. "There were discussions and deliberation. There is no room for conspiracy," the senior advocate submitted.

Mathur submitted that Sisodia tried to keep all the things out in the open. It all reached the finale when it reached the LG. Remand not to be done in a mechanical manner, Mohit Mathur argued and said You (CBI) filed the charge sheet and did not do anything, now you want to add the names.

Senior advocate Siddharth Agrawal also argued for Sisodia. He submitted that there is non-compliance with the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Arnesh Kumar case.

Agrawal also submitted that Sisodia is the finance minister. The time and purpose of the arrest were that he was not available to answer the question. He also submitted that this arrest is an assault on individual liberty as well as the institution. It is it case to decline the remand.

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In rebuttal, CBI said that two later drafts were not placed before the LG. "Arnesh Kumar applies only when the accused is cooperating. He should explain, we are not seeking their confession," CBI said.

First published: 27 February 2023, 19:21 IST