Supreme Court Judge Recuses Himself from Hearing Sisodia’s Bail Plea in Excise Policy Scam

Justice Sanjay Kumar, a Supreme Court judge, recused himself from hearing a plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Sisodia’s plea aimed to revive his bail petitions in the excise policy scam cases. A Bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Sanjay Karol, and Kumar was initially scheduled to hear the matter on Thursday. However, Justice Khanna announced, “Dr (Abhishek Manu) Singhvi, my brother Justice Kumar will not like to hear this matter for personal reasons.” Consequently, Sisodia’s bail hearing was deferred.

According to Bar and Bench, the Supreme Court re-listed the case for the week commencing July 15th. Live Law reported the Supreme Court’s order on Thursday, stating, “Subject to order of CJI before bench where my brother is not a member, in a week commencing July 15th.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Sisodia, urged the bench to list the matter urgently, emphasizing the time-sensitive nature of the situation. He pointed out that the trial has yet to commence in both cases. The bench responded by stating that another bench would take up the matter on July 15th.

The AAP leader is seeking bail in the cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) related to the alleged liquor policy scam. On June 4th, the Supreme Court had declined to entertain Sisodia’s bail pleas in the cases lodged by the CBI and ED.

Previously, Sisodia had approached the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 21st verdict, which dismissed his bail pleas in the cases investigated by the two central agencies. He had contested a trial court’s April 30th order in the High Court, which had rejected his bail applications in the cases involving alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

On October 30th of last year, the Supreme Court denied Sisodia bail in the corruption and money laundering cases linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, citing that the accusation of “windfall gains” of ₹ 338 crore to wholesale liquor dealers was “tentatively supported” by evidence.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26th, 2023, for his alleged role in the liquor policy case. The ED apprehended him on March 9th, 2023, in the money laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR. He resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28th, 2023.

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