The Supreme Court, today, granted bail to the Aam Aadmi Party Leader Sanjay Singh in the money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor policy scam.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale heard Sanjay Singh's plea challenging the dismissal of his bail plea by the Delhi High Court and his plea against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

The Bench ordered, “Leave Granted. Sanjay Singh is released on bail during the pendency of the proceedings arising out of…in respect of offence under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA, 2002. In view of the statement made, we allow the present appeal and direct the Appellant, Sanjay Singh, to be released on bail on conditions fixed. In view of the statement made (by ED), Sanjay Singh is to be released on terms and conditions to be fixed by the Trial Court. Sanjay Singh is entitled to continue with political activities We clarify that the concession given in the court would not be treated as precedent…Secondly, we must record that the concession made on behalf of ED has been made before the commencement of arguments. We clarify we have not made any comments on merits.”

ASG SV Raju appearing for the ED submitted, "Without going into merits, I will make a concession in the bail matter in the peculiar facts."

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of Singh and highlighted the issue of “necessity of arrest” and Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He also referred to the Judgement in the matter of Vijay Madanalal Chaudhary.

Justice Khanna asked, “Dinesh Arora got pardoned on 16th November 2022 in CBI Matter?”

Singhvi replied, “Dinesh Arora was sent to judicial custody, after which he made an allegation for the first time. Apart from this, there are unrelied documents, another travesty of justice.”

Justice Khanna then said, “What is the role attributed to Dinesh Arora?”

Singhvi replied, “It is said that he facilitated the meeting of X and Y…The only allegation in grounds of arrest and remand application is of 1 crore each on two occasions - handed over by Dinesh Arora's person to "my person". There is no corroboration, except approver.”

Further Justice Khanna asked whether these Rs. 2 Crore were part of the predicate offence and whether any amount was seized or was part of an attachment order, to which Singhvi replied in the negative.

Justice Khanna then said, “If you treat PMLA as a separate offence, suppose someone takes the bribe, can we in terms of the PMLA Act, require that the bribe amount should have been also made subject matter of attachment before invoking criminal proceedings?... This may not arise in this case. The broader question is whether giving and taking bribe is a predicate offense. Can you invoke PMLA without having passed an order of attachment? Because PMLA is to forfeit and take away money laundered…”

Singhvi also referred to two charts showing the facts and circumstances of the case for the convenience of the Court.

He further submitted a table related to Dinesh Arora, “Exculpatory after exculpatory after exculpatory…Look at the overall picture, is there a necessity of arrest? The 10th statement of Dinesh Arora becomes gospel truth. Statement on date of arrest is put by them in unrelied documents. Is this a cat and mouse game?”

“What is the reason to believe? Zero corroboration by an intermediary, bribe giver or receiver. One 10th, improved statement? Immediately after my conference, they unleashed a vendetta…The dates are clear, I gave a press conference and they came to my house. You can be foolishly outspoken in this country. ED must have corroboration before arresting”, he said.

Justice Khanna, while Singhvi was referring to Vijay Madanlal Case, asked, “Suppose a person is caught red-handed accepting a bribe, will PMLA be invoked?

Singhvi replied, “No, Income tax may apply.”

He also briefly referred to judgments in the matters of Arnesh Kumar and Lalita Kumari, focusing on the “necessity to arrest”.

Justice Datta then asked, “You have kept him in custody for six months, please get instructions on whether further detention is required?”

Pertinently, the Court, on February 26, issued a notice in Singh's bail plea. "Issue notice. Tag with SLP (Crl.) No. 14510 of 2023 titled “Sanjay Singh v. Union of India and Anr.”, which is stated to be listed on 05.03.2024. Notice will be served by all modes," the Bench had ordered.

Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on October 4, 2023, in connection with a money laundering case. The arrest followed extensive searches conducted at Singh's residence throughout the day.

Subsequently, the following day, a Delhi court had approved Raghav Magunta, son of YSR Congress MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, and businessman Dinesh Arora, both implicated in the case, to "turn approvers."

The ED's prosecution complaint, which implicated Singh, reportedly cited a statement by Arora. Arora and Magunta had previously been arrested by the agency earlier this year but are currently out on bail. Additionally, Vijay Nair, a businessman and AAP's communication in-charge, was arrested in September 2022, while former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia was apprehended in February 2023.

Cause Title: Sanjay Singh v. Union of India & Anr. and Connected matter