Nair, the Aam Aadmi Party‘s communication in-charge, and Boinpally, however, will remain in custody as they were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case related to the excise policy.
The court noted that the corruption case was based on an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which does not say that Nair and Boinpally committed any substantive offences, but they are only alleged to be part of a criminal conspiracy.
“Admittedly, the maximum term of imprisonment which is attracted in respect of this offence of criminal conspiracy is of seven years, and in view of the legal propositions… it cannot be considered severe enough to deny them bail,” the judge said.
The court further said except oral evidence collected in the form of statements, there was no other proof to show that the accused transacted huge amounts of money.
“In any case, the above oral evidence will have to be tested during the course of trial and it will be a matter of time only if it is able to be transformed into an acceptable piece of evidence or not, which can be acted upon by this court,” it said.
The court further said further detention of Nair and Boinpally in custody does not appear to be justified as they are already in custody in this case for 49 days and 37 days, respectively.
“It is clear that none of the accused is a ‘flight risk’ or is likely to abscond from facing trial of the case if they are released on bail,” the bench said.
“Further, the apprehensions being expressed from the side of prosecution regarding tampering with evidence or influencing of the witnesses by them are also apparently without any basis or reasons and can even be taken care of otherwise by imposing reasonable conditions or restrictions,” it said.
An FIR was lodged in the matter after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe.
The CBI has alleged that Nair was involved in meeting the other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors at various hotels in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging “ill-gotten money through hawala operators”.
The probe agency has also claimed that Boinpally was part of the meetings and that he was involved in the conspiracy to launder money along with another accused, liquor businessman Sameer Mahendru, currently lodged in Tihar jail.
In the money laundering case, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Mahendru, managing director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group.
The other accused in the case are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
According to the two central agencies, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders.
The Delhi government had implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September this year amid allegations of corruption.