The Delhi High Court on Wednesday heard a plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia seeking bail in a case related to alleged evasive replies given by him during a probe by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).
The court was hearing a plea filed by Sisodia, who is the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, seeking bail in a case registered against him by the ACB in 2018. The case was registered after Sisodia allegedly gave evasive replies during an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s advertising and publicity expenditure.
The court was informed that Sisodia had been summoned by the ACB in connection with the case and had appeared before the agency on several occasions. However, the court was told that Sisodia had allegedly given evasive replies during the investigation.
The court was also informed that Sisodia had been arrested in the case and was currently in judicial custody.
Sisodia’s counsel argued that the case against him was based on the alleged evasive replies given by him during the investigation and that this was not sufficient grounds for his arrest.
The counsel further argued that Sisodia had cooperated with the investigation and had appeared before the ACB on several occasions. He also argued that Sisodia had not tampered with any evidence or tried to influence the investigation in any way.
The counsel also argued that Sisodia had been in judicial custody for over a month and that he should be granted bail as he was not a flight risk.
The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order on the bail plea.
The case against Sisodia is part of a larger investigation into alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s advertising and publicity expenditure. The ACB had registered a case against Sisodia and several other officials in 2018 after it found that the government had allegedly spent crores of rupees on advertising and publicity without following the prescribed procedures.
The case has been a source of political controversy in Delhi with the AAP accusing the BJP-led central government of using the ACB to target its leaders.
The court’s decision on Sisodia’s bail plea will be keenly watched as it could set a precedent for similar cases in the future. It is also likely to be seen as a test of the ACB’s ability to investigate cases of alleged corruption without resorting to arbitrary arrests.