Excise policy case: Delhi HC issues notice to ED on Sanjay Singh’s bail plea
New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday sought Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s response on the bail plea of AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, arrested in a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.
Singh had moved the high court seeking bail on January 4 after Special Judge M.K. Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court on December 22 dismissed his bail plea.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma issued notice to the probe agency and posted the matter for hearing next on January 29.
On December 21, the trial court had also extended the AAP leader’s judicial custody in the case and had asked the ED to provide a copy of its fifth supplementary charge sheet and related documents to him.
Denying him bail, the judge had said that the evidence demonstrated the accused’s involvement in money laundering and that there were reasonable grounds to believe in the guilt based on the connection to proceeds of crime from scheduled offences investigated by the CBI.
The court also said that observations on the interpretation of Section 45 and 50 of the PMLA, made during the dismissal of bail applications for various accused, remained unaltered, and that reliance on a Supreme Court order granting bail to another accused in the case didn’t provide contrary observations or establish parity. It had also dismissed the argument regarding the absence of recovery during proceedings, stating that it is not always necessary.
Addressing the lack of documentary evidence connecting the accused to alleged proceeds of crime, the court rejected the notion, citing the nature of cash transactions. Dismissing the claim of approver coercion, the judge found no evidence of influence and affirmed the relevance of evidence collected by the ED while noting the accused’s alleged role in influencing the excise policy and attempted creation of a partnership involving a dummy associate to generate proceeds of crime.
Statements of approver Dinesh Arora, accused Amit Arora, and witness Ankit Gupta were cited in relation to this aspect, revealing attempts to incorporate the applicant’s personal assistant into the entity.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Singh, had earlier argued that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had not questioned Singh before his arrest and also cited contradictions in the statements of accused-turned-approver Dinesh Arora and other witnesses.
The ED had opposed the bail application, citing the ongoing investigation and expressing concerns that Singh’s release could potentially obstruct the investigation, tamper with evidence, and influence witnesses.
Singh’s counsel had also said that since the supplementary charge sheet against Singh has already been filed, there was some kind of finality regarding the collection of evidence which should be the basis for granting him bail.
He noted that Singh was neither an accused, and was never arrested, or charge-sheeted in the predicate offence (the alleged corruption in the excise scam) being probed by the CBI, and that he was not even summoned by the CBI in the corruption case. His name did not appear in any of the supplementary charge sheets filed by the ED before his arrest.
The financial probe agency arrested Singh on October 4 after carrying out searches at his residence in the North Avenue area.