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AAP leader Sanjay Singh Bailed Out, After Kejriwal Jailed In Liquor Policy Case

ED chooses not to oppose bail application after Apex court bench expresses inclination to accept bail application under Section 45 of PMLA

The embattled Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received a first respite in the infamous Delhi liquor policy (now scrapped) case when the Supreme Court on 02.04.2024 granted bail to senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh.

The bail was granted after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chose not to oppose the bail application following the bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Dipankar Datta, and Prasanna B Varale indicating that it was inclined to accept the bail application under Section 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and that the agency should consider the repercussions of the court’s observations on the trail in such eventuality.

Sanjay Singh’s bail comes days after the ED arrested Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the case. Before him, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha was arrested in the case. Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair are the other leaders who have been arrested by ED. All of them are currently in judicial custody in Tihar jail.

The news website, quoted Justice Dipankar Datta in the forenoon session as telling Additional Solicitor General of India SV Raju: “Mr. Raju, please keep in mind we have to, as per Section 45, observe in favor of the petitioner, please understand the implications of that during the trial. So get instructions on whether you need further custody.”

When the bench reassembled in the afternoon, Raju placed on record that through the ED has an “arguable case”, without going into merits, it has no objection in case the appellant Sanjay Singh is released on bail during pendency of the proceedings in the case. Following this the bench passed the order that Sanjay Singh be released on bail on terms and conditions to be fixed by the trial court, clarifying that nothing was being expressed on merits of the case.

According to another news website, the order was passed by the bench, while orally commenting that Sanjay Singh would be entitled to indulge in political activities during the period of bail, but he is not supposed to make any public statement regarding the case.

The court dismissed a second petition filed by Sanjay Singh, challenging his arrest and remand, as infructuous, the website added.

Sanjay Singh, arrested by ED in October 2023, had been in judicial custody for the last six months.

Section 45 of PMLA

Section 45 of the PMLA lays down the conditions for granting bail and states that no accused person shall be granted bail unless “the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offense and that he is not likely to commit any offense while on bail.”

The case

The case against Sanjay Singh and other AAP leaders is rooted in a 2022 complaint filed by Delhi’s Lieutenant Govrenor VK Saxena alleging irregularities in the framing of the Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22.

The complaint alleged that a criminal conspiracy had been hatched by leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAM), including former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other unidentified and unnamed private persons/ entities at the stage of the excise policy’s formulation.

The conspiracy, it was alleged, involved loopholes “intentionally” left or created in the policy. These loopholes were allegedly meant to benefit certain liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers after the tender process.

Here are a few more links to browse through more details of the case:

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