AAP MP Sanjay Singh Gets Bail After 6 Months In Jail In Liquor Policy Case

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh has been in Delhi's Tihar Jail since his arrest October last year in the alleged liquor excise policy scam.

Sanjay Singh Gets Bail: Mr Singh is a two-time Rajya Sabha MP for the Aam Aadmi Party.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh and posed tough questions to the Enforcement Directorate - which had arrested Mr Singh - including asking why he had been jailed for over six months without a trial or recovery of alleged bribe of Rs 2 crore.

"Nothing has been recovered... there is no trace (of money allegedly received by the AAP as bribes for allotting liquor licences to the 'South Group')..." the court told the agency, which claims the party received Rs 600 crore in bribes.

The court then directed Additional Solicitor General SV Raju to confer with the ED and decide if custody of Mr Singh is warranted at this stage. Mr Singh was released after the Enforcement Directorate said it did not want custody.

"I am making this statement (not opposing bail) without going into the merits of the case and keeping all the rights and contentions open," Mr Raju said.

The court earlier observed Dinesh Arora, an accused who turned approver, or government witness, did not implicate Mr Singh in his initial statements. Mr Singh was arrested on the basis of statements by Mr Arora, who got bail in August.

Sanjay Singh has been in Delhi's Tihar Jail since his arrest in October in the alleged liquor policy scam, which has roiled the opposition party - and seen the arrests of Mr Sisodia and his former boss, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - weeks before the election.

Mr Singh was arrested on money laundering charges linked to the alleged scam. 

His earlier bail pleas - including in the Delhi High Court - were turned down; in February, in fact, the High Court said "no ground" for relief had been made.

READ | AAP's Sanjay Singh's Bail Plea Rejected In Money Laundering Case

The ED then had opposed the bail plea, alleging Mr Singh was involved in acquiring, possessing, concealing, dissipating and using proceeds of the crime generated from the alleged liquor scam.

AAP's Sanjay Singh Gets Bail

That relief was finally granted this afternoon, after a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dipankar Datta, and Justice Prasanna B Varale said Mr Singh could be released during pendency of the trial.

The court said the terms and conditions of the release are to be fixed by the trial court. What is significant, though, is that Mr Singh can participate in political activities, meaning he can campaign for the AAP, which faces a potential shortage of big-name leaders in the run-up to the polls.

He has, however, been cautioned against commenting on the investigation.

The court also said the bail could not be treated as precedent in similar cases.

READ | "Court Asked About Money, Probe Agency Had No Answer": AAP

News of Mr Singh's release has been welcomed by his colleague and Delhi PWD Minister Atishi, who posted "satyameva jayate", or "the truth will win", on X (formerly Twitter). Atishi has been leading the AAP's fight back and protestations of innocence since Chief Minister Kejriwal was arrested.

READ | Atishi Claims BJP Offer, Says These AAP Leaders To Be Arrested Soon

This morning she claimed four other AAP leaders, including herself, had been earmarked for arrest by central agencies - in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam - if they do not join the Bharatiya Janata Party. The opposition has routinely accused the BJP of using central agencies to target rivals, particularly before an election. The BJP has equally routinely denied the charges.

NDTV Explains | Why Enforcement Directorate Arrested Arvind Kejriwal

What Is Alleged Delhi Liquor Policy Scam?

The Enforcement Directorate believes the now-scrapped liquor policy provided an impossibly high profit margin of 185 per cent for retailers and 12 per cent for wholesellers. Of the latter, six per cent - over Rs 600 crore - were bribes and the money was allegedly used to fund the AAP's poll campaigns.

READ | Kejriwal Lodged In 14x8 Feet Cell. See What All Court Has Allowed

Chief Minister Kejriwal was declared the "kingpin" of this alleged scam by the ED and arrested on March 21. Mr Kejriwal, who continues to run the Delhi government, is now in Tihar Jail till April 15.

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