ED arrests two persons in Delhi excise policy case

The accused were identified as Benoy Babu, who worked as a general manager with a liquor company, and Sharath Reddy, director of Aurobindo Pharma

Published - November 10, 2022 10:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Image for representation. Photo: Twitter/@dir_ed

Image for representation. Photo: Twitter/@dir_ed

The Enforcement Directorate arrested two persons, including the director of Aurobindo Pharma, in connection with the money-laundering probe in the Delhi excise policy case.

The accused were identified as Benoy Babu, who worked as a general manager with a liquor company, and Sharath Reddy, the director of Aurobindo Pharma.

In its letters to the stock exchanges, Aurobindo Pharma on Thursday said, “Further to the disclosure of even date, the company further learnt that the arrest of Mr. P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, the whole time director/promoter group of the company, is not in any way connected with the operations of Aurobindo Pharma Limited or its subsidiaries...”

The agency suspected the role of the two accused persons in the alleged cartelisation of liquor licences under the now-withdrawn excise policy. It is investigating the leads to determine if Mr. Babu was allegedly instrumental in the grant of licences to the ultimate beneficiaries.

The ED had earlier arrested Sameer Mahendru of Indospirit group, who was named as an accused in the First Information Report (FIR), registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into the alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also been listed as an accused in the FIR.

Last week, the Directorate had recorded the statement of Mr. Sisodia’s personal assistant Devendra Sharma following searches on five premises in the national capital region, based on the prima facie suspicion about the destruction of evidence.

The CBI had questioned Mr. Sisodia in October. He had earlier taken to Twitter and said, “They are preparing to arrest me by making a completely fake case against me. I was to go to Gujarat for an election campaign in the coming days. Their purpose is to stop me from going for the Gujarat election campaign.”

Apart from Mr. Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari, and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar, have been arraigned in the case along with several alleged private beneficiaries and conduits.

The CBI had earlier arrested Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder, and liquor businessman Abhishek Boinpally, a close accomplice of accused Arun Ramchandra Pillai. Mr. Nair was the Aam Aadmi party communication in-charge.

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