The Special CBI Court, New Delhi, yesterday, allowed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Leader Manish Sisodia to meet his ailing wife and other family members from 10 am to 5 pm today at his residence in Delhi. Sisodia who has been in jail since February 26, 2023, faces accusations in a money laundering case connected to purported irregularities in the city government's excise policy.

M. K. Nagpal, the Special Judge was dealing with the application moved on behalf of accused Manish Sisodia seeking permission of the court to physically meet his wife for five days in custody.

Along with Sisodia's application, the Court was also dealing with an application filed by Arun Ramchandran Pillai, an accused in the Delhi Excise policy scam, seeking permission for daily 10-minute phone calls with family, thrice-weekly 30-minute virtual meetings, and the allowance of an electric kettle and a hot water bag in jail.

Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur assisted by Advocates Vivek Jain and Karan Sharma appeared for Sisodia while on the other hand, Sr. PP Pankaj Gupta appeared for CBI and SPP N.K. Matta for ED.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had strongly opposed the request made on behalf of accused Manish Sisodia to physically meet his wife from custody for five days on grounds that the said request is not in consonance with directions or observations contained in the order of the Supreme Court dismissing the regular bail applications of accused.

CBI had also contended that though the Supreme Court had permitted Sisodia to file an application for interim bail in a medical emergency due to the illness of his wife, but had nowhere permitted him to make any such request before this court or to seek permission to visit his house and meet his wife. The Enforcement Directorate had also vehemently opposed the request and had requested additional time to reply to Sisodia's application. Nevertheless, the Special Judge denied the extension request.

The Court noted that Sisodia's wife has been suffering from multiple Sclerosis from the last more than 20 years and due to same, her mobility has been considerably reduced. The Court also in its order observed that because of the emotional and mental trauma suffered by Sisodia's wife as a result of the arrest and detention of her husband, she has developed severe sleep disturbances and has further been recently diagnosed to be suffering from some psychological problems.

The Court further observed that the High Court had also permitted Sisodia to visit his house and to meet his wife, on the same ground of illness of his wife, from 10 am to 5 pm on June 3, 2023, subject to certain terms and conditions.

Observing all the said aspects, the Court accordingly ordered, "Hence, in view of the above facts and circumstances and the submissions made and also purely on humanitarian grounds, this application is being allowed and disposed off with directions that the accused Manish Sisodia shall be taken at his given address of AB­17, Mathura Road, New Delhi tomorrow i.e. 11.11.2023 in custody to meet his wife and other family members from 10am to 5pm as per rules."

However, the Court imposed some restrictions and noted in its order, "It will be subject to the conditions that he shall not interact with any media person in any manner, shall not meet anybody except members of his family and further, he shall also not have any access to the phone or internet during the above said visit. Needless to say that the accused shall be taken to his residence in custody and under adequate security and after the above visit, he shall be brought back to the jail safely. Expenses of the above visit shall be borne by the accused himself."

The Court also disposed of the application filed by Pillia by directing that besides the phone call facility for 5 minutes daily being provided to the accused as per rules, he will be permitted to have video calls to his family members thrice a week for 10 minutes each, instead of twice a week for 15 minutes.

The Apex Court had recently denied bail to Manish Sisodia and had stated that the transfer of money is tentatively established. The Court had also stated that the trial would be concluded within 6 to 8 months and so if within 3 months the trial proceeds sloppily or slowly he would be entitled to apply for bail.

Sisodia, who held the excise portfolio among the many he handled as the deputy chief minister, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged role in the "scam". The ED arrested him in a money laundering case stemming from the CBI FIR on March 9 after questioning him in Tihar Jail. Sisodia resigned from the Delhi cabinet on February 28.

Cause Title: CBI Vs. Kuldeep Singh & Ors. and Directorate of Enforcement (DoE/ED) Vs. Sameer Mahandru & Ors.

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