Excise policy case: Supreme court grants bail to AAP leader Sanjay Singh

New Delhi :  AAP leader Atishi on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to grant bail to the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in a money-laundering case linked to the excise policy case.

The Delhi minister shared the news of Singh’s bail in a post on X and said in Hindi, “Satyameva Jayate.” Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy on October 4.

A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice PB Varale ordered Singh’s release. The ED said it had no objection if the AAP leader was given bail.

“Sanjay Singh should be released on bail during the pendency of the trial,” ordered an SC bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Dipankar Datta and Prasanna B Varale.

The top court’s order comes hours after Delhi’s water minister Atishi claimed that she and three other leaders will be arrested by the ED if they refuse to join BJP.

The bench said that Singh would be able to carry out his political duties during the period of his bail. However, it warned the leader to not make any comments on the case during this period.

‘No Recovery’

During the bail plea hearing, the bench observed that Singh was not found in possession of any money, while emphasizing that the accusation of him receiving a Rs 2 crore bribe could be examined during the trial.

“Nothing has been recovered, there is no trace,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the central probe agency.

Why AAP leader Singh arrested?

AAP leader Sanjay Singh was apprehended by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on October 4, 2023, in connection with a money laundering case linked to his alleged involvement in formulating and executing the now-defunct Delhi excise policy. According to the agency, the policy was purportedly designed to favor specific liquor manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

In a notable development, Singh has become the inaugural Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) figure to secure bail in the Liquor Policy scandal, which led to the detention of three other party leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, and Satyendra Jain.

Reaction from AAP leaders

The granting of Singh’s bail plea brought immense relief to the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been entangled in legal challenges in recent months due to the Delhi Excise Policy case. AAP leader Raghav Chadha expressed, “Today marks a deeply emotional moment for every member of the Aam Aadmi Party. The joy of Sanjay Singh’s release is beyond words.”

The money laundering case pursued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) originates from the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Both the CBI and the ED allege irregularities in the modification of the now-defunct Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, claiming that undue favors were granted to license holders.