A court here extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody of former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia by five days. Mr. Sisodia was arrested by the probe agency on March 9, while he was in judicial custody in Tihar jail, in connection with a money laundering probe related to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.
Special judge M.K. Nagpal asked ED to produce Mr. Sisodia in court on March 22.
The former Deputy CM’s bail hearing in a separate probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in connection with the alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the discontinued liquor policy, is scheduled for March 21.
The CBI had arrested Mr. Sisodia on February 26.
While seeking an extension of Mr. Sisodia’s remand, ED told the court that the former Minister had changed his phone on the day the Lieutenant-Governor forwarded the complaint against the excise policy to the CBI and tampered with the evidence.
“Investigation revealed that he was using a mobile phone for nearly eight months but changed it on July 22, 2022, the day when the L-G forwarded the complaint to the CBI,” ED’s counsel told the court, adding that the agency was trying to recover the evidence.
Mr. Sisodia told the court that he was being mentally harassed by the probe agency.
ED has charged the then Excise Minister with formulating the “faulty” liquor policy in lieu of kickbacks amounting to ₹292.8 crore.
The agency has claimed that a part of the alleged kickbacks was used for AAP’s poll campaign in the 2022 Goa Assembly election.
It has also alleged that cash payments amounting to ₹70 lakh were made to volunteers in AAP’s survey teams and fund transfers managed through hawala channels.
Reacting to ED’s allegations, AAP MP Raghav Chadha said the probe agencies only have “malicious and fabricated stories” against Mr. Sisoida.
“The ED officers have questioned Sisodia for only 15 hours during his seven-day remand. The CBI and the ED don’t have any evidence against Sisodia and he is behind bars as a result of the BJP’s politics of revenge”, Mr. Chadha said.
‘Misuse of agencies’
Another AAP MP, Sanjay Singh, said the entire country was watching “BJP’s crimes, dictatorship, hooliganism and misuse of investigative agencies”.
“Even terrorists are not treated the way Sisodia is being treated. This is when nothing has come out of the investigations. There is not a whisper from the agency regarding the proceeds of the crime, which is fundamental to the case,” Mr. Singh said on Friday.