Manish Sisodia’s custody was extended by five days today by a Delhi court after the Enforcement Directorate sought a week more to investigate allegations against him linked to the Delhi liquor case.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader had argued that the Enforcement Directorate questioned him “only for 30 minutes to one hour every day” and did not need to keep him in jail any longer.
Manish Sisodia has been in jail since February 26, when he was arrested by the CBI over alleged corruption linked to a new liquor policy that was scrapped within nine months.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating money-laundering allegations linked to the case.
As the probe agency today sought seven more days of custody to investigate him, Mr Sisodia questioned what it had done till now.
“If, after investigating the case for seven months, they seek further custody, they have to show what have they got,” Mr Sisodia’s lawyer asked in court.
“I am opposing the extension of custody because the Enforcement Directorate is carrying out the CBI’s investigation. ED can only probe proceeds of crime, not the crime,” Mr Sisodia argued, adding that it was the CBI’s job.
“ED is seeking extension in custody for confrontation, even in that case, they don’t need custody,” he said.
“They question me only for half an hour to one hour. Only yesterday, the questioning went on till late.”
The Enforcement Directorate shot back: “That’s because in CBI’s case, he complained of mental harassment.”
Making its case, the Enforcement Directorate cited its allegation that Mr Sisodia had changed their mobile phones multiple times, which led to a loss of Rs 1.38 crore.
“ED is raising the destruction of phones again. This was raised by CBI and the ED in their first remand application. They want further remand for the same? ED has to justify what have they been doing since registration of FIR. Are they investigating the matter only from now?” Mr Sisodia’s lawyer said.
AAP has alleged that CBI could not find anything incriminating during Mr Sisodia’s interrogation and that they were willing to let him off on bail, so another agency was brought in to file a new case. “They want to ensure that Manish Sisodia is kept in jail at all costs,” said a party leader.
Mr Sisodia, AAP’s number 2 leader, has been accused of corruption in a new liquor policy that was scrapped after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe. The Arvind Kejriwal government faces allegations of giving illegal benefits to liquor licensees after launching a new policy in November 2021.
AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have strongly refuted the allegations, alleging a political witch-hunt ahead of the 2024 national election.