While hearing the bail petition of former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the liquor policy case, the Supreme Court observed that the chain of evidence has not been fully established.
It also asked ‘where the proof is’ against Mr Sisodia, except for the statement of businessman Dinesh Arora, who is an accused in the case himself.
Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI in February and then by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Arora is an accused-turned-approver in the case, and was recently granted bail.
Hearing the case on Thursday, the bench, comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice SVN Bhatti, said the agencies’ case is that money had been received by Manish Sisodia.
The court asked how it reached him from the so-called ‘liquor group.’
‘You have taken two figures, INR 100 crore and INR 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,’ Justice Khanna asked.
‘The chain has not been fully established,’ the bench observed.
The court said that the money has to flow from the liquor lobby to the person and conceded that establishing the chain is difficult as everything was done under cover.
‘But that’s where your competence comes in,’ Justice Khanna said, referring to the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Money Laundering Case
Referring specifically to the flow of money and the charges against the AAP leader filed by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Justice Khanna asked, ‘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 said.
Pointing out that, according to the agency, the case is not one of attempt but actual involvement, Justice Khanna 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 till next week.
Earlier in the day, the court clarified that the remark it made on Wednesday about making the AAP an ‘accused’ in the liquor policy case was ‘not to implicate any political party’ and was just a legal question that it had raised.
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 said the actions are part of a political vendetta, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said on Thursday that the turn of the ‘kingpin’ will also come.
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