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Delhi court allows Sanjay Singh to take oath as Rajya Sabha MP on Feb 5 while in custody

New Delhi, Feb 3, 2024
A Delhi court on Saturday granted permission to AAP MP Sanjay Singh, arrested and charge-sheeted in the excise policy money laundering case, to take his oath as Rajya Sabha MP on February 5, while in custody.

On Thursday, the court had issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Singh’s application seeking interim bail from February 4 to 10 to attend the ongoing Parliament session.

Special judge M. K. Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court also extended till February 17 the judicial custody of former Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Singh, who appeared physically before the court.

The judge allowed Singh’s request to take the oath in judicial custody, withdrawing his above-mentioned application for interim bail.

Singh cited a court appearance in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on February 7 as the reason for his request.

Advocates Rajat Bhardwaj, Farrukh Khan, and Prakash Priydarshi represented Singh during the proceedings.

Additionally, during the hearing, Tanveer Ahmed Mir, counsel for Amandeep Singh Dhall, raised concerns about CCTV footage without audio in the case and requested footage with audio.

Advocate Rajat Bhardwaj also submitted an application seeking the supply of statements recorded before the court, including those of Raghav Magunta and P Sharat Reddy, who were given a pardon.

The court noted other pending applications, including one seeking CCTV footage and another seeking records of emails written by accused Dhall to ED. These applications will be addressed in the next hearing.

The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday reserved its judgment on Singh’s bail plea.

Singh had moved the High Court seeking bail on January 4 after Special Judge Nagpal dismissed his plea on December 22 .

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved the order after hearing arguments from both the sides.

The ED on Tuesday had claimed before the court that Singh was involved in creating a special purpose vehicle (SPV) Aralias Hospitality Pvt Ltd to launder “proceeds of crime” linked to the alleged liquor scam, a result of changes in the excise policy.

In an affidavit, it alleged Singh’s involvement in acquiring, concealing, and using proceeds of crime, and that he worked closely with individuals like Dinesh Arora and Amit Arora.

The ED further claimed that Singh received illegal money or kickbacks from the alleged excise policy (2021-22) scam and participated in a conspiracy.

Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Singh, argued that his client has been in custody for three months without a clear attribution of a role in the predicate offence.

Singh’s arrest, according to Mathur, relied on the statement of the ED’s “star witness”.

Justice Sharma had earlier issued notice to the probe agency on Singh’s bail plea.

Denying him bail, the judge had said that the evidence demonstrated the accused’s involvement in money laundering and that there were reasonable grounds to believe in the guilt based on the connection to proceeds of crime from scheduled offences investigated by the CBI.

The court also said that observations on the interpretation of Section 45 and 50 of the PMLA, made during the dismissal of bail applications for various accused, remained unaltered, and that reliance on a Supreme Court order granting bail to another accused in the case didn’t provide contrary observations or establish parity.

It had also dismissed the argument regarding the absence of recovery during proceedings, stating that it is not always necessary.

Addressing the lack of documentary evidence connecting the accused to alleged proceeds of crime, the court rejected the notion, citing the nature of cash transactions.

Dismissing the claim of approver coercion, the judge found no evidence of influence and affirmed the relevance of evidence collected by the ED while noting the accused’s alleged role in influencing the excise policy and attempted creation of a partnership involving a dummy associate to generate proceeds of crime.

Statements of approver Dinesh Arora, accused Amit Arora, and witness Ankit Gupta were cited in relation to this aspect, revealing attempts to incorporate the applicant’s personal assistant into the entity.

Singh’s counsel had earlier noted that Singh was neither an accused, and was never arrested, or charge sheeted in the predicate offence (the alleged corruption in the excise scam) being probed by the CBI, and that he was not even summoned by the CBI in the corruption case.

His name did not appear in any of the supplementary charge sheets filed by the ED before his arrest. The financial probe agency arrested Singh on October 4, 2023 after carrying out searches at his residence in the North Avenue area.(Agency)

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