Manish Sisodia | Photo:PTI
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday permitted AAP leader Manish Sisodia, under arrest in cases related to alleged irregularities in the city government's excise policy, to meet his ailing wife at his residence on Saturday.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to take Sisodia, the former deputy chief minister, to his residence where he has been allowed to meet his wife from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Sisodia was first arrested by the CBI on February 26 for his alleged role in the scam and has been in custody since then. The high court has already denied him bail in the CBI case on May 30.
He was arrested on March 9 in the case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and is currently in judicial custody.
The high court made it clear that Sisodia shall not interact with media or any other person except his family members, and also not access phone or internet.
“Let the petitioner be taken to his house tomorrow from 10 AM to 5 PM to meet his wife,” the court said.
The high court, which was hearing Sisodia's petitions for regular bail and interim bail in the money laundering case lodged by the ED, reserved its orders.
Sisodia, represented by senior advocate Mohit Mathur, has sought interim bail on the ground of deteriorating health of his wife who is suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The high court also directed the ED to verify the medical documents of Sisodia's wife and asked it to file a report positively by Saturday evening.
In the CBI case involving alleged corruption, the high court has kept the interim bail plea pending.
Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the ED, argued earlier also a similar interim bail plea was filed by Sisodia on identical grounds which was later withdrawn, hence no ground was made for calling for a report from the agency.
He said Sisodia's wife was suffering from the ailment for the last 23 years, and as the AAP leader was holding 18 portfolios, he was a very busy minister and had no time for home.
So she can be taken care of by an attendant, and the court may grant Sisodia permission to go with an escort and visit his wife, Raju said.
During the day, the high court also heard arguments and reserved order on the bail plea of businessman Vijay Nair, the Aam Aadmi Party's communication in-charge and a co-accused in the money laundering case arising from the alleged scam.
Senior advocate Rebecca John, representing Vijay Nair, argued the ED has converted this bail hearing into a mini trial by taking four dates.
He has been accused of raising money from the 'South Group' to be paid as kickback to officials and politicians.
Opposing Nair's bail plea, Raju contended when the AAP office bearer contacted the ‘South Group', the demand for money was raised and it crystallised into Rs 100 crore, and witnesses have said so in their statements.
John said it does not become proceeds of crime unless you calculate and tell how it became Rs 100 crore.
“Without this Rs 100 crore there is no case against Vijay Nair to keep him in custody. I am not saying quash the case against him. He will face the trial but no need of custody,” she argued.
According to the CBI and ED, which are probing the cases against Sisodia, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders. Sisodia had challenged the March 31 order of the trial court which had dismissed his bail plea saying he was prima facie the "architect" of the alleged scam and had played the "most important and vital role" in the criminal conspiracy related to alleged payment of advance kickbacks of Rs 90-100 crore meant for him and his colleagues in the Delhi government.
The Delhi government implemented the policy on November 17, 2021 but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
On May 30, the court had dismissed the bail plea of Sisodia in the excise policy scam being probed by the CBI, saying he is an influential person who could influence witnesses, who are mostly public servants, and the allegations against him are very serious in nature. PTI