The Supreme Court Monday asked liquor giant Pernod Ricard’s executive Benoy Babu, facing prosecution in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, to surrender by September 25.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti extended by a week till September 19 the interim bail granted to Babu by the Delhi High Court.
The bench said it will consider his regular bail plea in the week commencing October 30, and sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate on the petition challenging the July 3 order of the high court denying him the relief.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Babu, informed the court his wife’s surgery is scheduled for September 22 and so he be given some time to surrender.
Salve said Babu had a good case for grant of regular bail on merit and urged the court to fix a shorter date for hearing his plea.
“For 10 months he has been in jail and now he is out on interim bail on medical grounds. Since the court is considering fixing the matter for hearing in October end, he should not be asked to surrender. Heavens won’t fall in 10 days,” he said.
The bench said it is not inclined to grant any further extension of interim bail beyond September 25 and directed Babu to surrender on or before that date.
“As far as regular bail is concerned, we are issuing notice to ED returnable in four weeks. We will hear the matter in the week commencing October 30,” the bench said.
The Delhi high court had on September 6 extended Babu’s interim bail on “humanitarian grounds”.
Babu had told the high court that his minor daughters were suffering from depression for the last few months and prayed for his interim bail to be extended so he can take care of his children.
The high court had extended Babu’s interim bail till September 19 and made it clear that since the relief is purely on humanitarian grounds, no further extension shall be sought on the ground of the medical condition of his daughters. Babu had approached the high court after the trial court refused to extend the interim bail granted to him on August 24 on medical grounds.
In his appeal before the apex court filed through advocate Raj Kamal, Babu has challenged the July 3 order of the high court refusing to grant him regular bail in the money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.
The Delhi government had implemented the new excise policy on November 17, 2021 but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
Babu and Aam Aadmi Party’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair were arrested by the ED in November last year in connection with the case.