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Manish Sisodia contributed to the delay in the court case, says the judge; denies the bail petition.

Manish Sisodia

Manish Sisodia contributed to the delay in the court case, says the judge; denies the bail petition.

Manish Sisodia
No Tobacco Day

Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, individually and with other accused, contributed to the delay in court proceedings related to alleged irregularities in the now-defunct Delhi excise policy, a Delhi court said on Tuesday, rejecting the senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s bail request.

Sisodia cited the prosecution’s assurance to the Supreme Court last year that the trial would conclude within 6-8 months in his bail plea, and emphasised that he was entitled to seek bail under the top court’s October 30, 2023 order “in case the trial is protracted and proceeds at a snail’s pace in the next three months”.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja dismissed the rationale. “It is apparent that the applicant (Sisodia) individually, and along with different accused have been filing one or the other application/making oral submissions frequently, some of them frivolous, that too on a piecemeal basis, apparently as a concerted effort for accomplishing the shared purpose of causing delay in the matter” , the judge stated in her 42-page order denying Sisodia’s request to be released on bail. The complete order became public on Wednesday.

Baweja also listed 135 petitions submitted by various accused since April 2023 for a variety of reasons, including demands to get papers used by the prosecution, CCTV footage of their prison questioning, and a request for temporary release.
“In light of the preceding discussion and the factual position that emerges from the court record, the Applicant’s claim that the proceedings have been delayed or lengthened, or that the matter is progressing at a snail’s pace, is denied. “The so-called delay in the progression of the case is clearly due to reasons attributable to the applicant,” the court stated.

The court also rejected Sisodia’s attorneys’ arguments for bail based on parity with another accused, Benoy Babu, who was released after 13 months in jail, citing differences in the substance of the charges against them.

To be sure, the court rejected the notion that the case was proceeding at a’snail’s speed’.

“The Applicant’s contention that he has not contributed to the delay of proceedings or that the matter has been going at a “snail’s pace” cannot be accepted. The case’s steady advancement, despite apparent attempts to slow it down, cannot be compared with “snail’s pace” by any criterion, according to the court.

The court also refused to grant him bail on the grounds that he needed to care for his wife, who is being treated for Multiple Sclerosis. The court noted the Enforcement Directorate’s submissions that she has had the disease for a long time and that the couple has a son who can care for his wife. The court also stated that Sisodia’s appeal did not include any medical emergency or urgent medical need that justified his release.

The CBI detained Sisodia on February 26, 2023, claiming that it had discovered multiple pieces of damning evidence in the case and that his detention was essential for a fair inquiry. The AAP politician was then remanded to Tihar Jail by Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court, where he was detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is conducting a separate investigation into the policy in connection with alleged money laundering.

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