Today, Justice PV Sanjay Kumar of the Supreme Court recused from hearing the pleas of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, by which his bail petitions have been sought to be revived in the excise policy scam cases.

The bail pleas were listed for hearing before the Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Sanjay Karol, and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Sisodia.

At the outset, Justice Khanna said, "Dr. Singhvi, my brother (Justice Sanjay Kumar), would not like to hear this matter for personal reasons."

To this, Singhvi submitted, "Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't know that. Your Lordship may give me the shortest date, my whole problem is delay." He requested that the matter be listed on Monday or Friday itself. Singhvi argued, "Seeing the list of dates, you will be shocked. My Lord, in October 2023, the order says to complete the trial. The second order says complete the trial; they have not even started the trial; its July 2024."

Taking note of the submissions, the Court ordered, "Subject to the orders of the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, the case is to be listed before a bench of which one of us (Justice Sanjay Kumar) is not a member in the week commencing July 15."

Pertinently, on June 4, the Court had disposed of Sisodia's bail plea with liberty to revive the prayer after a final complaint/chargesheet is filed in the case.

Earlier, on May 21, the Single-Judge Bench of Delhi High Court had dismissed Sisodia's bail plea in CBI and ED cases related to Delhi excise policy scam. The Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma had observed that there has been no delay in the supply of documents or by the Trial Court.

The Court had remarked that "justice hurried may lead to justice buried," as mentioned in the Apex Court's recent judgment in Sunita Devi v. The State of Bihar & Anr. On merits, the Single-Judge Bench opined, "The applicant, Manish Sisodia, was involved in the destruction of mobile phones...was responsible for 18 a senior leader of the Aam Aadmi an influential person.."

On May 8, the Court had granted ED and CBI more time to file reply in the matter. Earlier, on May 3, the Court had issued notices to the two agencies asking them to file their replies. In the High Court, Sisodia had challenged a Trial Court’s April 30 order in which his bail petitions were dismissed on the ground that the stage was not right for granting bail to Sisodia. The Court had continued the interim relief earlier granted to Sisodia by the trial court to meet his ailing wife once a week in custody during the pendency of the pleas. The Trial Court dismissed Sisodia's bail pleas in the corruption and money-laundering cases lodged by the CBI and ED, respectively, in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and execution of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021–22.

The beneficiaries diverted "illegal" gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection, the probe agencies have alleged. According to the CBI and ED, which are probing the cases against Sisodia, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours extended to the licence holders.

In the April 30 order, the Special Judge had denied the relief, saying the stage was not right for granting bail to Sisodia. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested by the CBI on February 26, 2023, for his alleged role in the "scam". The ED had arrested the former Deputy Chief Minister in a money-laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9, 2023.

Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28, 2023. The High Court had dismissed Sisodia's bail pleas in the CBI and the ED cases on May 30 and July 3 last year. On October 30, 2023, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the High Court's order, saying the allegation levelled by the probe agencies that "windfall gains" of Rs 338 crore were made by a few wholesale liquor distributors was "tentatively supported" by material and evidence. The Delhi government implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.

Cause Title: Manish Sisodia v. Directorate of Enforcement & Another connected matter [SLP (Crl) No. 8781/2024 & SLP (Crl) No. 8772/2024]