Delhi court defers Manish Sisodia’s bail hearing in excise policy case to March 10

A Delhi court on Saturday deferred the hearing of Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia’s bail plea in the excise policy case to March 10, Live Law reported.

The court also extended his Central Bureau of Investigation’s custody till March 6.

Sisodia had moved the bail application on Friday after the Supreme Court had refused to hear his plea challenging his arrest. The court had said that the former Delhi deputy chief minister has alternative remedies available before the high court.

Sisodia was arrested on February 26 by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a case related to alleged irregularities in Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy. A day later, a Delhi court had sent him to CBI custody till March 4.

Sisodia has been held in connection with the Delhi government’s excise policy that came into effect in November 2021. Under it, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. Earlier, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores and the remaining 389 were private shops.

However, the policy was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on July 30 after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI inquiry alleging irregularities in the policy’s formulation and implementation.

The CBI has claimed that Sisodia was arrested after he gave evasive responses and did not cooperate despite being confronted with evidence related to the case.

During Saturday’s hearing, Sisodia’s counsel argued that keeping his client in custody will serve no fruitful purpose as all the recoveries in the case have already been made, NDTV reported.

“The ground [to keep Sisodia in custody] can’t be ‘we will wait till he confesses’,” his counsel said, according to Live Law. “The inefficiency of the agency can’t be the ground for remand.”

Advocated Pankaj Gupta, appearing on behalf of the CBI, argued that Sisodia was “still non-cooperative” during interrogation, according to Bar and Bench.

“We also need to examine some more people,” Gupta said. “He had moved Supreme Court also, a lot of time was wasted in that. We need three more days.”

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