A Delhi court on Saturday extended the CBI custody of Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia till March 6.
Mr. Sisodia, arrested in a corruption case related to the now-scrapped excise policy, was produced before the court on expiry of his five-day CBI custody. His plea will now be considered on March 10.
Special Judge M.K. Nagpal also directed the CBI not to ask him the same questions repeatedly after Mr. Sisodia termed it as “mental harassment”.
“Though the accused is found to have been extensively examined, questioned and confronted with his then Secretary and the then Excise Commissioner of GNCTD on some vital aspects of the prosecution story, his confrontation with two other material witnesses is yet to be done and it is stated that their names have intentionally not been disclosed in the application,” the court observed.
The court said that it has gone through the case diary produced by the investigating officer and observed that one important file pertaining to the Cabinet note prepared in respect to the excise policy was to be traced, and for this reason further custodial interrogation of the accused might be necessary.
“Therefore, in light of the above facts and circumstances and the submissions made, the accused is being remanded to CBI custody for a further period of two days,” the court said. It also asked the probe agency to interrogate Mr. Sisodia under CCTV surveillance.
Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI, Pankaj Gupta, requested that Mr. Sisodia’s custody should be extended for three more days.
Mr. Sisodia’s lawyers, senior advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur argued that the CBI cannot ask for extension of the custody on the same grounds repeatedly. They alleged that the CBI wants their client to confess something he hasn’t done.
The lawyers also highlighted Mr. Sisodia’s wife’s medical condition and added that there is no progress in CBI’s plea from Day 1 till now.
Meanwhile, AAP leaders protested near the BJP head office against Mr. Sisodia’s arrest and alleged that the “dictatorship” of the Narendra Modi-led Central government has reached its peak. Over 30 protesters were detained by the police and later released.
AAP senior leader and MP Sanjay Singh reiterated the party’s stand that the CBI will not find anything despite any amount of “harassment” towards the AAP leaders. In response, BJP Delhi president Virendra Sachdeva said a “failed attempt was made in the court by Mr. Sisodia to play the victim card”.
Mr. Sachdeva said that all the claims made by Mr. Sisodia in the court were just an excuse, as he has to understand that the investigation is done according to its own process and not according to the convenience of the criminal.