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In some respite to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi liquor policy case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh. Surprisingly, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) didn’t object to the bail and submitted in the apex court that Sanjay Singh’s custody was no longer required. Sanjay Singh’s bail comes days after the ED arrested Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case.

Sanjay Singh was arrested by ED in October 2023 and was the second senior leader from AAP to go to prison in the Delhi liquor policy case. Earlier in February 2023, the CBI arrested Delhi’s former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who was later handed over the the ED and finally went to judicial custody.

Why ED didn’t object to Sanjay Singh’s bail?

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Dipankar Datta, and Prasanna B Varale on Tuesday ordered that Sanjay Singh be released on bail in the Delhi liquor policy case. The Enforcement Directorate submitted that they no longer required the custody of Sanjay Singh. But, the ED’s realization was not as surprising as it was looking and came after the Supreme Court informed Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju that they are planning to grant Sanjay Singh bail under Section 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

“Mr. Raju, please keep in mind we have to as per Section 45 observe in favor of the petitioner, please understand the implications of that during the trial. So get instructions on whether you need further custody,” Justice Dipankar Datta asked SV Raju as per Bar and Bench.

What does Section 45 of PMLA say?

Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) speaks about the conditions set for bail and states that no accused person shall be granted bail unless โ€œthe Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offense and that he is not likely to commit any offense while on bail.”

The Supreme Court bench asked ED to calculate the repercussions of the Supreme Court’s observations on its case if the bail is granted under Section 45 of PMLA.

Moreover, the bench also observed that the statements given by accused-turned-approver Dinesh Arora had nothing to implicate Sanjay Singh.

‘You can be foolish in a free country’

During the bail hearing, senior Supreme Court advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sanjay Singh submitted that his client was not initially named in the Delhi liquor policy case. Singhvi said that Sanjay Singh was arrested after the allegations that โ‚น1 crore was paid by Dinesh Arora to a person closely linked to Singh, but Dinesh Arora’s statement has changed over time.

“They (ED) pounced on me [Singh] after my press conference. Perhaps my press conference was foolish, but you can be foolish and outspoken in a free country,” the senior counsel argued.

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Published: 02 Apr 2024, 05:31 PM IST

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