The Delhi High Court has observed that the stage of bail is not the appropriate stage to consider whether the statement of the approver suffers from infirmity.

Denying bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh in the money laundering case related to the liquor policy scam, the Bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma observed that, "The law regarding statement of the approver, its evidentiary value and the appropriate stage at which it can be admitted or disregarded is not the stage of bail as per judicial precedents."

Senior Counsel Mohit Mathur, along with others, appeared for the petitioner, while ASG SV Raju, along with others, appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the applicant sought a regular bail in connection with cases involving Sections 3 and 4 of the PMLA.

The case originated from an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) based on a complaint by the Lieutenant Governor of GNCTD, alleging irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy for the year 2021-2022. The CBI filed a chargesheet, followed by two supplementary chargesheets against a total of 16 accused persons. The accused were implicated in a criminal conspiracy related to the excise policy, involving intentional loopholes and kickbacks to public servants.

The case was registered due to the scheduled offences under PMLA. The Directorate of Enforcement filed multiple prosecution complaints, and the applicant was arrested on 04.10.2023. The applicant's bail application was dismissed by the Sessions Court on 22.12.2023, leading to an appeal before the High Court.

The Court observed that it was prima facie clear that the approver has not been compelled to testify against the present accused.

With that background, it was observed that, "the argument of the learned counsel regarding the case being based solely on the testimony of the approver and therefore, being devoid of any merit or truth, is attractive at a first glance, however, not legally tenable at the stage of consideration of bail."

It was clarified that whether the statement of the approver suffers from infirmity clearly demonstrable by virtue of bias, pressure, threat, coercion etc. will be clear and proved during trial and no finding could be given to give benefit of its lack of evidentiary value or falsehood to grant bail to the accused.

Therefore, it was held that no ground for the grant of bail was made out.


Petitioner: Senior Counsel Mohit Mathur, Counsels Rajat Bhardwaj, Mohd. Irshad, Harsh Gautam, Ankita M Bhardwaj, Kanishk Raj, Kaustubh Khanna

Respondent: ASG SV Raju, Counsels Zoheb Hossain, Vivek Gurnani, Samrat Goswami, Kartik Sabharwal, Pranjal Tripathi, Madhumita, Sonali Sharma, Hitharth, Kanishk Maurya

Cause Title: Sanjay Singh vs Directorate of Enforcement

Click here to read/download the Judgment