During the bail hearing for former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the liquor policy case, the Supreme Court made notable observations. The court raised concerns over the incomplete establishment of a chain of evidence and questioned the absence of substantial proof against Mr. Sisodia, aside from the statement provided by businessman Dinesh Arora, who himself is an accused in the case. Arora, who has now turned approver, was recently granted bail.
The bench, consisting of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice SVN Bhatti, presiding over the case on Thursday, highlighted the prosecution’s assertion that money had been received by Manish Sisodia. The court inquired about the origin of these funds from what is referred to as the “liquor group.”
Justice Khanna posed questions, stating, “You have taken two figures, ₹100 crore and ₹30 crore. Who paid them this? There can be so many people paying the money – not necessarily connected to liquor. Where is the proof? Dinesh Arora himself is the recipient. Where is the evidence? Except for the statement of Dinesh Arora, is there any other evidence?”
The bench further commented that the chain of evidence had not been fully established and acknowledged the difficulty in establishing this chain as most activities were conducted covertly. Justice Khanna emphasized the need for competence on the part of the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation in addressing such challenges.
In reference to the money flow and the charges brought against Manish Sisodia under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED, Justice Khanna questioned, “Manish Sisodia is not involved in all this. Vijay Nair (another accused) is there, but Manish Sisodia is not in this part. How will you bring him under the money-laundering act? The money is not going to him. In case it is a company with whom he is involved, then we have vicarious liability. Otherwise, the prosecution falters. Money laundering is entirely a different offence.”
The judge also pointed out that, according to the agency, the case is not one of attempted involvement but actual involvement. He remarked, “What is the activity connected with the proceeds of crime? This is not generation. PMLA deals with the process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime. So till the proceeds of crime come, the PMLA case doesn’t come.”
The hearing has been adjourned until the following week.
Additionally, the court clarified an earlier remark made on Wednesday, which mentioned making the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) an ‘accused’ in the liquor policy case. The court clarified that this statement was “not to implicate any political party” but was merely a legal question raised.
In related developments, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was also arrested by the ED in connection with the case on Wednesday. While the Aam Aadmi Party has claimed that these actions are politically motivated, Union Minister Anurag Thakur stated on Thursday that the “kingpin” will also face consequences.