SC grants bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh in Delhi excise policy case

New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Aam Admi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh who was arrested in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice PB Varale after hearing the ED which said that it had no objection to the grant of bail, the Top Court ordered the release of Sanjay Singh on bail, clarifying that the trial would continue, but the Court did not comment anything on the merits of the case.

The Bench further clarified that Singh would be entitled to take part in political activities during the bail period. The bench also stated that the order would not be treated as a precedent. Singh is not supposed to make any public statement regarding the case, the Apex Court added.

During the hearing in the forenoon session, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of Singh argued that no money had been recovered from his client and there were exculpatory statements by approver Dinesh Arora.

The bench observed that “Nothing has been recovered, there is no trace of any money laundering,”

The bench then asked Additional Solicitor General SV Raju to obtain instructions on whether further custody of Singh is required. If there are no instructions, the ASG can argue on merits and the matter will be decided on merits, the bench stated.

When the bench reassembled at 2 PM, ASG Raju said, “Without going into merits, I will make a concession in the bail matter and said that the ED had no objection if the bail is granted to Sanjay Singh.”

AAP Leader Sanjay Singh was arrested on October 4, 2023, following searches at his residence in Delhi. He is currently in judicial custody and was admitted to the hospital on health grounds.

The ED alleged that an employee of businessman Dinesh Arora delivered Rs. 2 crores to Singh’s house on two occasions. Singh’s arrest followed accusations made by Arora, who later turned approver in both the ED and CBI cases. ED claims that it had digital evidence to confront Singh with.

The Delhi High Court had rejected Sanjay Singh’s bail plea in February this year. And again his petition challenging arrest and remand in connection with the money laundering case was rejected in October last year.

Sanjay Singh had filed two applications in the Supreme Court. The first plea is a challenge against his arrest and remand in the money laundering case, and the second is a bail application.

During the hearing today, Singhvi emphasized that the entire ED case against Singh is based on the statement of approver-turned Dinesh Arora, who made 9 exculpatory statements before finally naming Singh. It was highlighted that Arora was granted bail on ED’s “no-objection”, while the concerned court remarked that ED was “playing smart”.

Singhvi claimed that the ED launched a vendetta after Singh held a press conference, saying, the agency officers came to his house right after that.

Singhvi questioned the necessity of Singh’s arrest and ED’s conduct of putting exculpatory statements made by Arora in “unrelied documents”, which Singh cannot see or get.

Singhvi requested the Court to stop this practice, calling it a “travesty of justice”.

Justice Khanna asked Singhvi whether the alleged amount of Rs. 2 crores is part of a predicate offence. Singhvi replied in the negative.

Singhvi said that the only allegation on grounds of arrest and remand application is of 1 crore handed over two times by Dinesh Arora to Sarvesh Arora alleged to be my person. No corroboration by any eyewitness apart from someone turning approver.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked Singhvi, “Is there any attachment order’?

Singhvi replied in the negative.

Justice Khanna said, It occurred to me that Act as it framed … Does not arise here but somewhere we will have to address … Suppose someone takes a bribe then it is subject matter of predicate offence, PMLA would the bribe amount also be required to be made subject to attachment before invoking PMLA? If it is a separate and distinct offence then PMLA is forfeiture proceedings.

SC observed that Rs 2 crore has not been made part of that attachment order in this case.

Justice Khanna asked a hypothetical question, if the bribe amount is returned will PMLA survive?

Singhvi replied, “That may not be a correct example. Our case is no money has been made in the normal course.”

ASG Raju had requested the court to adjourn the matter to Wednesday but the Court asked him to reply by 2 Pm whether further custody of Sanjay Singh is required by the ED.

The bench then at 2.15 pm passed its order and granted bail to Sanjay Singh. The Bail Bond and other formalities will be conducted at the Trial Court. The trial court will then lay down the Bail conditions for Sanjay Singh.

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