Sisodia: Rejecting bail, SC tells AAP leader Sisodia to approach trial or high court | India News


NEW DELHI: In a setback to Manish Sisodia, who resigned from his post as deputy chief minister, and his Aam Aadmi Party, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition seeking either quashing of the FIR in the liquor policy case or grant of bail, and said he must move the trial court or Delhi high court seeking the twin reliefs.
The disappointment for Sisodia was accompanied by CBI’s assertion that it would seek extension of his five-day custody for interrogation.
Though the SC granted hearing to Sisodia within six hours of approaching the court, a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha didn’t appear persuaded at any stage of the 10-minute hearing to accept the deputy CM’s plea for release from CBI custody.
“We are not inclined to entertain the petition seeking quashing of FIR and bail as you have your remedies,” the bench said as Sisodia’s counsel, senior advocate A M Singhvi, cited instances of journalists’ bail plea having been entertained directly by the SC and argued that Sisodia who handled 18 portfolios, was a victim of a mala fide arrest.
The SC’s firmness to make Sisodia follow the hierarchy of judicial forums for relief forced Singhvi to request for withdrawal of the plea to approach the HC. However, the SC said it was dismissing the petition “as it was not inclined to entertain it at this stage”.
“This is a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Can you not make the same arguments before the Delhi HC, which is available to you as a forum to seek similar reliefs? Go to the HC, which is bound by our judgments,” the bench said.
“You can raise all these arguments before the competent court. Otherwise, what will happen is that we will be the first forum for entertaining bail petitions. An incident happening in Delhi, does not mean you will rush to the Supreme Court,” it added.
When Singhvi requested the bench to direct the HC to expeditiously hear the bail plea, solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, opposed it and said Sisodia can make the request before the HC. “We are seeking extension of (five-day) custodial remand period (granted by the trial court),” he said.
At the outset of the hearing, Singhvi had cited the SC ordering release of TV anchor Arnab Goswami and giving protection from arrest to the late Vinod Dua to justify Sisodia approaching the SC directly. But the CJI-led bench said that the cases were not identical.
“Arnab travelled to this court from a judgment of the Bombay HC. Of course, we have the power to entertain your petition. In Dua’s case, the SC had exercised its power as it related to freedom of expression where a journalist’s rights to express himself about the handling of the pandemic were sought to be curtailed by the sedition law. Those were very different circumstances. Here, you have the full remedy of moving the competent court and the Delhi HC. We should not be interfering in that process,” it said.
Singhvi argued, “Sisodia was called for questioning only twice, which he had attended in connection with an FIR registered in August last year. Per se, the arrest would be illegal as the charge against him is punishable with less than seven years’ imprisonment, mandating the CBI to give notice for arrest under Section 41A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). It was not given.”
“He is not a flight risk, as he holds 18 portfolios in Delhi government. There was no interference by him in the investigation. The excise policy was decided after the files travelled through seven levels, including concurrence of the [Delhi] lieutenant governor. So, he cannot be the decision-making authority,” he said.


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