Excise policy scam: Delhi HC reserves order on Sanjay Singh’s bail plea in money laundering case

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New Delhi:  The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a plea by arrested AAP MP Sanjay Singh seeking bail in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy scam.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma heard the arguments on behalf of Singh and the ED.

Singh sought bail on the ground that he has been in custody for the last three months and no role has been attributed to him in the predicate offence.

The probe agency opposed the bail plea contending that Singh was involved in acquiring, possessing, concealing, dissipating and using proceeds of crime generated from the Delhi liquor scam pertaining to the policy period of 2021-22.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the ED, argued that witnesses were being threatened not to tell the truth to the probe agency and this was one more reason that Singh should not be released on bail.

He contended that Singh has the propensity to commit a similar offence again and that he also had access in ED office as he managed to get certain documents which were in the ED office and not in public domain.

Advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Singh, said he was arrested after the ED’s “star witness (Dinesh Arora)” made a statement and added that he cannot be made an accused in the money laundering case as he was not named in the main FIR by the CBI.

The Rajya Sabha member, arrested on October 4, 2023 by ED, has challenged a trial court’s December 22, 2023 order by which his bail plea was dismissed in the money laundering case.

In its reply to the petition, the ED said Singh was allegedly involved in creating a special purpose vehicle to launder “proceeds of crime” that would have been generated from the business arising out of the changes in Delhi excise policy.

The probe agency said it was revealed during investigation that Singh is a key conspirator in the alleged scam and he was closely associated with a number of accused or suspects in this case, businessmen Dinesh Arora and Amit Arora.

“… It is evident that Sanjay Singh was involved in creating a special purpose vehicle (M/s Aralias Hospitality Pvt Ltd) to launder the proceeds of crime that would have been generated from the business arising out the policy changes as conspired by him and his co-conspirators,” it said.

The agency further claimed that the AAP leader has gained illegal money or kickbacks which are proceeds of crime generated from the liquor policy (2021-22) scam and that he has also played a role in conspiracy with others.

The investigation has revealed that Singh has received Rs 2 crore proceeds of crime, ED said.

The ED has alleged that Singh played a key role in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped excise policy, which allegedly benefited certain liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, for monetary consideration.

The case pertains to the alleged corruption in formulating and executing the city government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped.

Following a recommendation by Lt Governor V K Saxena, the CBI registered an FIR over the alleged corruption.

The trial court, while denying him bail, had observed that he was connected with the “proceeds of crime to the extent of Rs 2 crore” and the case against him was “genuine”.

It had said the ED’s “basic case” was “approved” by the Supreme Court, which had also “endorsed” that bribes or kickbacks were paid for the formulation of the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22.

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