AAP MP Sanjay Singh, in jail since October, gets bail from Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: In a big relief to AAP, whose top leadership, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, is behind bars in money laundering cases, Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to its MP Sanjay Singh in the alleged scam relating to changes in excise policy and allowed him to engage in political activities after coming out of jail.

The respite for the politician, who was arrested in Oct 2023, came as Enforcement Directorate conceded and preferred not to oppose Singh’s bail plea after the court asked it to make its stand clear whether it still wanted to keep him in detention even after six months. Kejriwal and former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia are in custody in the same case and former minister Satyendar Jain is also in jail in another money laundering case.

After hearing from senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who contended that there was no substantial evidence against Singh and it was a fit case for bail after six months in custody, the bench asked additional solicitor general S V Raju, in the pre-lunch session, to take instruction from ED whether it still wanted his continued detention. It told the agency to keep in mind that if it wanted to argue the case, then the court would have to go by the merits of the case and it would pass an order keeping in mind Section 45 of PMLA. The court also said any observation could have implications on the trial.

aap mp sanjay singh, in jail since october, gets bail from supreme court

SC says Singh not implicated by co-accused in initial statements

Section 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 states that bail can be granted if a court is prima facie satisfied that an accused has not committed the offence and is unlikely to commit an offence after getting bail.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Dipankar Datta and P B Varale said the AAP MP was not implicated by Dinesh Arora, a co-accused in the case who turned approver, in his initial statements and Singh’s name cropped up much later and, moreover, he had not received any money and there was no money trail.

aap mp sanjay singh, in jail since october, gets bail from supreme court

When the bench assembled after lunch, the ASG said ED did not want Singh’s further detention and preferred not to contest the case. He said though the agency had an “arguable case”, it was making a concession in view of facts peculiar to the case and that bail for Singh should not be treated as a precedent. The court thereafter granted Singh bail, while clarifying that it had not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. It also said the concession was given by ED even before it commenced arguments and it would not be treated as a precedent.

“Leave granted. S V Raju, ASG, in the morning session was asked to obtain instructions. He states that respondent-ED has no objection in case appellant Sanjay Singh being released on bail during pendency of proceedings… in respect of offence under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA, 2002. In view of the statement made, we allow the present appeal and direct that the appellant will be released on bail during pendency of the aforesaid on terms and conditions to be fixed by the trial court,” the bench said in its order.

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As the ASG urged the court to put restrictions on Singh not to make public statements, the bench said it could not bar him from political activity.

Singh was arrested by ED on Oct 4, 2023, following a statement made by Arora that Rs 2 crore was delivered to the MP’s house.

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