The Delhi High Court today sought the CBI's response on former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's bail plea in the excise policy scam case.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued a notice on the senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader's plea and asked the agency to file its response. "Issue notice. Let reply be filed," the judge said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Sisodia in connection with alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 on February 26, following several rounds of questioning.

On March 31, a trial court here had dismissed Sisodia's bail plea in the matter, saying he was "prima facie the architect" and played the "most important and vital role" in the criminal conspiracy relating to alleged payment of advance kickbacks of Rs 90-100 crore meant for him and his colleagues in the Delhi government.

Before the high court, senior advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur, appearing for Sisodia, challenged the trial court's order and emphasized that the other accused in the case were either not arrested or have been granted bail.

"This is a plea for regular bail. Everyone except me is granted bail," Krishnan submitted. Lawyer Anupam S Sharma appeared for the CBI and sought time from the court to file a reply.

The court granted two weeks' time to the agency to file its response.

While refusing to give relief to Sisodia, special CBI Judge M K Nagpal had said the accused played the "most important and vital role in the above criminal conspiracy" and he had been deeply involved in formulation as well as implementation of the policy to ensure achievement of objectives of the said conspiracy.

"The payment of advance kickbacks of around Rs 90-100 crore was meant for him and his other colleagues in the GNCTD and Rs 20-30 crore out of the above are found to have been routed through the co-accused Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and approver Dinesh Arora," the trial court had observed in the 34-page-long order.

"In turn, certain provisions of the excise policy were permitted to be tweaked and manipulated by the applicant to protect and preserve the interests of South liquor lobby and to ensure repayment of the kickbacks to the said lobby," it had said.

The trial court had also said Sisodia's release may adversely affect the ongoing investigation and will also seriously hamper the progress thereof.

Before the trial court, the CBI had opposed Sisodia's plea for bail on the ground that he was in a position to influence witnesses and destroy evidence.

The matter would be heard next by the high court on April 20.

With PTI Inputs