The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh in the Delhi liquor policy case, reported Bar and Bench.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Dipankar Datta and Prasanna B Varale ordered that Singh be released on bail while the trial is pending. This came after the Enforcement Directorate said the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s custody was no longer required.

The central agency, which is investigating the money-laundering allegations linked to the case, had alleged that Singh played a key role in formulating and implementing the policy.

Singh was arrested on October 4 after the Enforcement Directorate conducted searches at his home.

On December 22, a trial court rejected Singh’ application for bail. The Delhi High Court also refused to grant bail to the Aam Aadmi Party leader on February 7, after which he moved the top court.

On Tuesday, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Singh, said that the Aam Aadmi Party leader had not been initially named in the case.

Singhvi told the court that Singh was arrested on the allegations that Rs 1 crore had been given to an individual linked to the Aam Aadmi Party leader by businessman Dinesh Arora, the accused-turned-approver in the case.

The court observed that Arora had not implicated Singh in his initial statements, according to Bar and Bench.

The additional solicitor-general told the court said that Singh could be released on bail even though the Enforcement Directorate had an arguable case.

The court then granted bail to the Aam Aadmi Party leader.

A big day for democracy, says Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi education minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, reacting to the top court’s order, said that it was a big day for democracy.

“The Supreme Court judges asked questions to which the Union government and the Enforcement Directorate had no answers,” he said.

Delhi education minister Atishi told reporters that the Supreme Court granting Singh bail proved that the truth always wins. “You can suppress the truth but cannot erase it,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said.

Trinamool Congress leader Saket Gokhale on social media said that an accused person under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act had to prima facie prove their innocence to get bail.

He added that the Enforcement Directorate did not oppose Singh’s bail application because it did not have evidence.

“Modi [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] uses the ED [Enforcement Directorate] because the process is the punishment,” he said. “This is what we call the cheap & pathetic use of Central Agencies by BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] which has been exposed today.”

However, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said that the Aam Aadmi Party could no longer claim that central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation were indulging in “vendetta politics”, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Today, AAP’s claim of ED being vindictive has been busted,” he said. “If AAP thinks that bail amounts to quashing of charges and celebration, it means that the party has accepted that those leaders behind bars are guilty,” the party’s spokesperson added.

Liquor policy case

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging irregularities in the Delhi government’s now-scrapped liquor excise policy.

The policy came into effect in November 2021. It was withdrawn on July 30, 2022, with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending an investigation into the alleged irregularities of the policy.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s liquor excise policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.

The Enforcement Directorate arrested Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the case on March 20. On Monday, he was sent to judicial custody till April 15.