The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday cited large-scale destruction of digital evidence, a meeting between Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and arrested minister Manish Sisodia regarding a crucial document and changes in profit margins coinciding with visits from the ‘south group’ in connection to a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy, according to its remand notice accessed by CNN-News18.
A Delhi court granted the ED a seven-day extension of Sisodia’s custody after the central agency argued that crucial evidence was found in the case and further probe is required to be conducted into the matter.
Large-scale Destruction of digital Evidence
The agency told the court that large-scale destruction of digital evidence, including changing 14 phones, was done intentionally to erase Sisodia’s involvement which included proceeds of crime handling, money trail, and involvement connection in the process, activities connected with proceeds of crime for the commissioning of the offence of money laundering.
“The arrestee is involved in largescale destruction of evidence to impede the investigation and to erase evidence,” it said.
During one year period of liquor scam, the agency claimed Sisodia had changed 14 phones or IMEIs and only one phone could be recovered during search and seizure by CBI while Sisodia was able to produce two phones during the investigation.
Mobile Phone Switched on Day of Complaint Register
The agency claimed that most of these phones, including a mobile phone which Sisodia had been using for at least eight months, were changed exactly on July 22, 2022, which is the date on which the complaint sent by LG to CBI in liquor scam case was covered in media.
“This conclusion of destruction of mobile phones is based on the fact that these 11 mobile phones/IMEls were not recovered during intensive searched conducted by Central investigative agencies or during interrogation,” the statement read.
The agency listed the names of people under whom Sisodia’s phones were bought, including his Personal Assistant (PA) Davender Sharma, Sudhir Kumar, Jawed Khan, and Romando Clothes.
Sisodia’s ‘Well Thought Plan’ to ‘Destroy Evidence’
Manish Sisodia’s usage of a SIM card issued in the name of another person and using WhatsApp
linked to the SIM ensured that no trace was left anywhere, ED claimed. It noted that Sisodia’s login to WhatsApp from the SIMs was “extremely suspicious in nature” as it coincides with the LG’s letter to the CBI about the Delhi liquor scam.
“Using SIM card and handset registered on the name of another person is to deny that the WhatsApp/data connected with the SIM and stored in the phone belongs to him. This reflects cool headed, well thought plan to destroy not only evidence by destruction and making mobile handset untraceable but also to create legal laçade with regard admissibility of evidence on the ground that data stored in mobile phone and data connected to SIM belongs to a person who is a real owner of the SIM as well as the hand set and not actual user,” the statement read.
Fixing of 12% profit margin in collusion with South Group
The agency claimed that Group of Ministers (GoM) meetings were only a “sham”, and there was no discussion or decision-making in these GoM meetings. The major recommendations presented in the GoM report, including fixing of 12 per cent profit margin clause, were neither discussed nor decided in these meetings.
Citing documents seized from Sisodia’s personal computer, the wholesale profit margin was recommended to be only 5 per cent. According to a document found from another system in his office conference room, the amount was “magically changed” on March 19, 2021, without any inputs from concerned departments and convening of the GoM meeting.
Proving the matter, it cited the secretary to Sisodia, who has submitted before the agency regarding the matter, and stated that he was called to the residence of Arvind Kejriwal between 15-19 March 2021 and handed him a document containing the draft GoM report. “This document contained 12% profit margin for wholesale for the first time,” it noted
The timing in the change of profit margin from 5 to 15 per cent also coincides with members and representatives of the ‘South Group’, which allegedly includes Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister KCR, who were staying in the Oberoi hotel, New Delhi, from March 14 to March 17 in 2021.
Apart from overlapping timing of the stay with the changes in the document, it noted that “certain parts of the final GoM report have been found in the mobile phones of these South Group members and representatives 2 days before the GoM even submitted their report to the Council of Ministers.”
The ED told the court that it had retrieved Sisodia’s icloud data, which had 1.23 lakh email dumps, and it needed time to investigate them.
Further, it listed summons to Rahul Singh, ex-Excise Commissioner, C Aravind, the
then Secretary of deputy chief minister, Dinesh Arora, Amit Arora for ED questioning have been issued and said they will be confronted with Sisodia for the probe.
Shortly after the ED sent the former deputy chief minister to ED custody till March 22, AAP leader Sanjay Singh termed the “entire episode” as being “triggered by political vendetta, to defame the Delhi government, derail its work and punish Delhi for electing AAP.”
Singh pointed fingers at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said “the entire country will not forget that you have treated Sisodia as a terrorist.” He said, “The people of the country elected you Modiji as PM. But you are misusing your position in torturing people like Sisodia.”
AAP leader Raghav Chadha claimed the CBI and the ED don’t have any evidence against Sisodia and he is behind bars as a result of BJP’s “politics of revenge.” He said, “The BJP is scared of AAP and has started a politics of revenge. CBI and ED don’t have any evidence against Manish Sisodia. They only have concocted stories against him. When the court said that CBI took Sisodia on remand, interrogated him and did not find anything against him, they got ED to frame more false cases against him.”
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