Excise policy: Supreme Court defers hearing on Sanjay Singh's plea against his arrest [5.2.2024]

The Supreme Court on Monday deferred till March 5 the hearing on AAP leader Sanjay Singh's plea challenging his arrest and remand in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta adjourned the matter after it was informed by Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), that the order on Singh's regular bail plea had been reserved by the Delhi High Court on January 31.

"He has moved for regular bail before the high court and order has been reserved on his petition. Kindly adjourn it for a while," Raju requested the court.

The bench said it is listing the matter for hearing on March 5.

On November 20 last year, the top court had sought responses from the Centre and the ED on Singh's plea challenging his arrest and remand in the case.

The top court had said that if Singh filed a petition for regular bail in the interregnum, then it should be considered independent of the observation made in the Delhi High Court's judgement dated October 20, 2023.

The high court had on October 20 refused to interfere with his arrest in the case, saying it could not impute a political motive to a premier investigating agency in the absence of material on record.

Singh, who was arrested on October 4 last year in the case, had moved the top court challenging the high court's October verdict.

In its order, the high court had said that Singh's was not a "prima facie case of no evidence at all".

"At a premature stage when the investigation is at a nascent stage, this court does not find any ground to interfere at all with order of remand or arrest. Dismissed," the high court had said.

It further said that deciding whether a case is politically motivated essentially involves deciding whether an investigating agency was under the control of a political party, and it cannot decide the same without any material on record.

The ED's money laundering case stems from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR.

According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and undue favours were extended to licence holders.

It is alleged that Singh played a key role in the formulation and implementation of the policy, which benefited certain liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, for monetary considerations.

After his arrest, the trial court had sent Singh to the custody of the ED. He has been in judicial custody since October 13.

05 Feb 2024