The Supreme Court on Thursday posed several critical questions to agencies investigating the Delhi liquor policy case, raising doubts about the strength of their case.
The court made the observations while hearing AAP leader Manish Sisodia’s bail pleas in a money laundering case and corruption case linked to the alleged liquor policy scam.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) asserted that it is determined to bring any guilty parties to justice in the liquor policy case. On Wednesday, it arrested AAP MP Sanjay Singh, and accused him of receiving “crores of rupees” in kickbacks from accused-turned-approver Dinesh Arora.
Speaking on behalf of Manish Sisodia, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi argued that the ED’s interest in making AAP an accused stems from a query raised by the Supreme Court itself. However, the court clarified that its question was purely legal in nature and not intended to implicate anyone.
Turning to the contentious Delhi excise policy, the Supreme Court questioned whether a policy decision could be legally challenged in the manner presented. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) contended that the policy was deliberately designed to favour specific individuals and submitted what they described as incriminating WhatsApp messages as evidence. However, the Supreme Court expressed reservations about the admissibility of these messages.
The ED further claimed that the accused in the excise policy case had communicated via the Signal app, which cannot be traced, adding a layer of complexity to the investigation.
Throughout the proceedings, the Supreme Court did not shy away from posing tough questions to the investigating agencies.
“Have you seen them (Vijay Nair, Manish Sisodia on bribes) discussing this? Will it be admissible? Isn’t the statement (by an approver) hearsay? It is an inference but has to be based on evidence. In cross examination, this will fall flat in two minutes,” the bench said.
The ED was planning to make AAP an accused in the excise policy case. This came after the top court, at an earlier hearing, had asked why the party, which was alleged to be a beneficiary, had not been made an accused in the case.
The ED has claimed that AAP used Rs 100 crore received as kickback from various stakeholders for its campaign in the 2022 Goa Assembly elections.