The Supreme Court, on Monday, issued an order directing Benoy Babu, an executive at the liquor giant Pernod Ricard, who is currently facing prosecution in a money laundering case connected to the alleged Delhi excise policy scandal, to surrender himself by September 25. This decision came from a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, who also extended the interim bail previously granted to Babu by the Delhi High Court by one more week, now expiring on September 19.
The bench announced its intention to review his standard bail request during the week beginning October 30. It also requested the Enforcement Directorate to provide a response to the petition contesting the High Court’s July 3 order, which denied him relief.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, representing Babu, informed the court that his wife is scheduled to undergo surgery on September 22. Therefore, they requested that he be granted some additional time before surrendering.
Salve argued that Babu had a strong case for the approval of regular bail based on its merits and urged the court to expedite the hearing of his plea by setting an earlier date.
“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 expressed its reluctance to extend the interim bail period beyond September 25 and instructed Babu to surrender on or before that specific 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”.
During his appearance before the High Court, Babu had informed the court that his minor daughters had been experiencing depression for the past few months. He had requested an extension of his interim bail to ensure he could provide care and support for his children.
The High Court had prolonged Babu’s interim bail until September 19, emphasizing that this extension was solely granted due to humanitarian considerations. The court explicitly stated that no additional extensions should be sought based on his daughters’ medical condition. Babu had turned to the High Court after the trial court declined to further extend the interim bail initially granted to him on August 24, citing medical reasons.
Through his advocate Raj Kamal, Babu has submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court, contesting the High Court’s decision on July 3 to deny his request for standard bail in the money laundering case associated with the alleged Delhi excise policy scandal.
The Delhi government introduced the new excise policy on November 17, 2021, but terminated it by the conclusion of September 2022, following 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.