Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh lashed out at the BJP-led Centre on Friday, alleging that its “only objective is to defame” his party.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Singh claimed that former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has been jailed in connection with the excise policy case, despite “no evidence of corruption” against him.
“The Centre has only one objective and that is to defame Aam Aadmi Party leaders and keep Manish Sisodia in jail by hook or by crook. Sisodia has been sent to jail but the central agencies have no evidence of corruption against him,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha MP further alleged that Sisodia’s arrest was nothing but an attempt to “divert the attention” of people from a report of US-based short seller Hindenburg Research on the Adani Group.
“The CBI raided Manish Sisodia’s residence for 14 hours. It arrested and interrogated him in custody and yet could not find anything and finally, the Centre resorted to using the ED. This is nothing but an attempt to divert the attention of people from the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court on Friday sent Manish Sisodia to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody till March 17. Special judge M.K. Nagpal allowed the anti-money laundering probe agency to interrogate the senior AAP leader in custody. The ED had sought Sisodia’s custody for 10 days.
The ED had arrested Sisodia on Thursday evening in the Tihar Jail, where he was lodged in connection with a case being probed by the CBI pertaining to alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22.
Earlier, the court heard arguments of the ED and Sisodia’s lawyers on the AAP leader’s custody. There was heavy security presence within and outside the Rouse Avenue Courts.
The lawyer for the federal anti-money laundering probe agency alleged Sisodia made false statements about the ‘scam’ and that it wanted to unearth the modus operandi of the perpetrators and confront him with the other accused.
ED’s counsel Zoheb Hossain also claimed before a special court that Sisodia destroyed his phone, an important piece of evidence in the investigation. The claims of the ED counsel were contested by a battery of lawyers who represented Sisodia.
Senior advocates Dayan Krishnan, Mohit Mathur and Siddharth Aggarwal said the excise policy was accepted by the Lieutenant Governor who must have examined it.
Sisodia’s lawyers, while opposing the ED’s plea for his custody, said it is the executive’s job to make policy which goes through several layers of scrutiny. “How can ED look into policy making in a money-laundering case?” the AAP leader’s counsel asked the court.
“ED has not found a single penny from my client…the case is entirely based on hearsay,” the lawyer said.