The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s plea challenging his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a case related to alleged irregularities in the state’s now-scrapped liquor policy, Live Law reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said that the Aam Aadmi Party leader has alternative remedies available before the Delhi High Court.
“Just because an incident happens in Delhi does not mean this case will come to the Supreme Court,” Justice Narasimha said.
After the court’s ruling, the Aam Aadmi Party said it will move the High Court, ANI reported.
The Delhi government’s excise policy 2021-’22, formulated on the basis of an expert committee report, came into effect in November 2021. Under it, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. Earlier, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores and the remaining 389 were private shops.
However, the policy was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on July 30 after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI inquiry into the policy’s formulation and implementation.
At Monday’s hearing, the CBI claimed that Sisodia was arrested after he gave evasive responses and did not cooperate despite being confronted with evidence. Special Public Prosecutor Pankaj Gupta, representing the central agency, had told the court that the deputy chief minister had verbally directed the secretary to create a new Cabinet note to alter the excise policy.
“The profit margin was enhanced from 5% to 12%,” Gupta added. “He could not explain why the changes were made.”
But Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Sisodia, claimed that profit margin changes were approved by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. He also argued that the central agency wanted his client’s custody since he did not answer questions in the manner they wanted him to do.
Meanwhile, AAP members on Monday protested against Sisodia’s arrest and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of targeting Opposition leaders through central agencies.