A Delhi Court on Friday remanded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till March 17 in the money laundering case registered against him in relation to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. .The order was passed by special judge MK Nagpal after the ED moved the Court seeking custody of Sisodia for ten days.In his order, Judge MK Nagpal held that prima facie, arrest of Manish Sisodia is justified.The court also noted that the ED has the powers to seek Sisodia's custody for further examination."Thus, in view of the above background, this Court is, prima facie, convinced that the arrest of accused in this case is justified and ED has also powers to seek custody of the accused for his further examination and interrogation," the court has said. .The ED arrested Sisodia on Thursday evening after questioning him for several hours in the Tihar Jail. ED is probing the money laundering angle in the Delhi excise policy case. Sisodia was earlier arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the liquor policy case on February 26 and is already in judicial custody in that case.He remained in CBI custody till March 6. After that, he was sent to judicial custody..It has been alleged that Sisodia and other members of the AAP connived to grant liquor licenses to certain traders in exchange for bribes.It has been alleged that the excise policy was tweaked and the profit margins were changed in a manner that benefited certain traders and kickbacks were received in exchange for the same.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI registered cases in relation to the alleged scam after Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe based on a report by the Delhi Chief Secretary. The report claimed that the Deputy Chief Minister violated statutory provisions and notified a policy that had significant financial implications.Although Sisodia was not named in the CBI's chargesheet, the probe remained open against him and some others.The AAP has denied the allegations and maintained that Sisodia is innocent.It is Sisodia's stance that the policy and the changes made in it were approved by the LG and that CBI is now going after the policy decisions of an elected government..During the hearing today, the ED said that the changes to excise policy were made to benefit a group from South India."All the changes were made to enable the South Group. Please see the manner in which policy was formulated to ensure that certain private entities get huge benefits," ED counsel Zoheb Hossain said.Hossain also said that the argument by Sisodia that the changes to the policy were made in response to public feedback, was not true."There was no suggestion by public or stakeholders to fix the profit margin at 12%. This has been confirmed by Excise department," it was submitted.Hossain submitted how the definition of 'term related entities' was diluted "There was dilution of term related entities. This sort of a diluted definition not only helped but even enabled cartelisation. The then secretary to Sisodia has disclosed that despite his suggestion, Sisodia got the diluted definition in GOM Report," it was submitted.It was further argued that the scam involved government functionaries and middlemen and others and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair was the one who was coordinating the entire conspiracy."The conspiracy was orchestrated by Nair, Sisodia, K Kavitha and many others. The South Group paid a kickback of nearly Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders. One of the biggest cartel was made to operate 30% of liquor business in Delhi," the ED contended.Hossain also referred to Sisodia's alleged role in ensuring L1 licence to a company named Indospirits."At jet speed, the application comes, it is approved and allocation granted in a few days. All these things check out. They are not random incidents. This was very important to get done. Because this was the vehicle that would get the kickback done," it was stated..Senior Counsel Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Sisodia said that faulty policy cannot be ground to implicate someone."According to them (ED) it is a faulty policy. Elected governments lay down policy. It goes through various layers. It goes through government, the bureaucrats, the finance and law secretaries,"In the present case, the excise policy was sent to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi who approved the same."The policy went to LG. It went to LG. LG is the Central government. He sent three queries but none of them relate to the profit margin or eligibility criteria," Krishnan pointed out.He also highlighted the Supreme Court judgment upholding the 2016 demonetisation policy of the Central government"They are talking about haste. I can cite umpteen examples of haste. Demonetisation was done and it has been held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court," Krishnan said.Specifically on the merits of the allegations, it was contended that no money has been traced to Sisodia. "Not a single money traced to me, so they say Vijay Nair was acting on my behalf. Why have they not been able to trace even a single Rupee to me," Krishnan asked..It was also argued that the ED's arrest was mala fide to keep Sisodia in jail since his bail plea in the CBI case is slated to be heard today. "We were to argue for bail today. I was never summoned by ED even once. My bail application was pending here. They questioned me and just a day before the hearing, they arrested me. Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) is from Aug, 2022. This kind of conduct must concern a court," the counsel submitted.The Court should not ignore the timing of such arrests, it was submitted."The remand application does not meet the test laid down in Section 19 of PMLA. The court also cannot ignore the timing. The aim to keep a person in continued detention. he time has come for the courts to act on arrests like these. I pray you to be the first to do so in Prevention of Money Laundering Act," Krishnan argued..Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, also appearing for Sisodia, said that investigating agencies are considering arrest as a matter of their right."It is only a fashion these days that they (Agencies) take arrests as a right. It is time for courts to come down heavily on this entitlement that they feel they have," Mathur said.He also questioned the ED's powers to arrest a person."We are not dealing with police here. I am questioning their (ED's) powers to seek this remand. They get this power only because neither are we doing our job properly nor are we informing the court," it was submitted..After considering these submissions, the court rejected the argument that Sisodia was arrested in violation of Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) or that the agency does not have the powers to seek Sisodia's custody. "... it is observed that though Section 19 of the PMLA do not confer any specific power in this regard, but this power has to be inferred with the help of provisions contained in Section 65 of the PMLA, 2002 and Section 167 of CrPC as Section 65 of the PMLA provides that the provisions of CrPC shall apply, in so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, to arrest, search and seizure, attachment, confiscation, investigation, prosecution and all other proceedings under this Act."The court also agreed with ED lawyer's submissions that ED remand of an accused can be granted by the Court and it has been granted in thousands of cases so far and without any adverse observations or orders of any of the higher courts..Enforcement Directorate was represented through Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain, Special Public Prosecutor NK Matta along with advocates Gaurav Saini, Kavish Garach, Sidharth Kaushik, Vivek Gurnani, Mohd Faizan Khan and Baibhav. Senior Advocates Dayan Krishnan, Mohit Mathur, Siddharth Aggarwal along with advocates Vivek Jain, Rishikesh Kumar, Mohd Irshad, Karan Sharma, Mohit Siwach, Harsh Gautam, Rajneesh Bhaskar, Mayank Sharma, Deepal Goel, Rishabh Sharma, Abhinav Jain, Mohit Bhardwaj and Divita Dutta appeared for Sisodia.