The Delhi High Court on Monday directed five news channels to ensure that their reporting on the Delhi liquor policy case is based on official press releases issued by Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, reported Live Law.

Notices have been issued to news channels Republic TV, India Today, Zee News and Times Now, according to Bar and Bench.

Justice Yashwant Varma passed the order on a plea filed by businessman Vijay Nair, who alleged that the central agencies have leaked sensitive information about the case to the media. Nair, who was in charge of the communication desk in the Aam Aadmi Party, was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate from the Central Bureau of Investigation on November 14.

At Monday’s hearing, lawyer Zohaib Hossain, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, told the High Court that the agency has not issued any press release in the case. He added that none of the broadcast by the channels was based on any information given by the agency.

Meanwhile, the CBI’s counsel placed on record press releases issued by the agency on August 1, September 5 and October 17.

After going through the releases, the court noted that there was no correlation between the information given by the central agencies and what was being reported by the news channels.

“This is not a case where at least at this stage it can be said that the information was collectively leaked or provided by the investigating agencies,” the High Court said in the order.

The High Court also expressed displeasure on the News Broadcasters and Digital Association’s submission that it does not have the power to restrain the channels, reported Bar and Bench.

“If self-regulation is mere eyewash then why should we not be disband you?” the High Court asked. “...What the news channels publish has to be in line with the disclosures made by CBI, ED. It could be something which is reflected from order of court... where are they getting this from?”

Nair is a former chief executive officer of event management company Only Much Louder, and was the first one to have been arrested in the liquor policy case. Fifteen persons, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, have been named as accused persons in the CBI’s first information report.

Under the policy, which was implemented in Delhi on November 17, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. However, on July 30, the Delhi government withdrew the policy after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into it by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

On September 1, Delhi reverted to its old liquor policy, under which only state-run stores are allowed to operate.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that favours were given to liquor licence holders under the now-withdrawn policy. These include allegedly waiving or reducing the licence fee and granting L-1 licences for wholesale supply of liquor without the approval of the competent authority.

The Enforcement Directorate had filed a money laundering case in August based on the Central Bureau of Investigation FIR.