The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant and the Enforcement Directorate has held a businessman in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.
The chartered accountant, Butchibabu Gorantla, was purportedly instrumental in the formulation and implementation of the policy, thereby causing wrongful gain to Hyderabad-based wholesale and retail licensees and their beneficial owners. He was linked to the group that allegedly paid ₹100 crore as kickbacks in advance through the then Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) communication in-charge Vijay Nair.
The group’s key figures were YSRCP MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta, TRS MLC K. Kavitha and Aurobindo Pharma director P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, the ED has alleged.
In the money laundering case, the ED has arrested Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra who is in the liquor business. The agency has so far filed two chargesheets involving 17 accused/companies on the basis of its findings.
Earlier, the CBI had chargesheeted seven persons, including Mr. Nair, liquor manufacturer Indo Spirits’ Sameer Mahandru, India Ahead News’ Gautam Mootha, businessman Arun Pillai from Hyderabad and two Excise department officials, in November last year. Alleging a conspiracy between Mr. Nair, his “close associate” Arora, businessman Abhishek Boinpally and others, it submitted that ₹20 crore-30 crore was paid via “hawala” during July-September 2021.
The agencies have alleged that the kickback money was to be returned in the form of stakes in Indo Spirits and extra credit notes to the retail zones managed by Mr. Boinpally from Brindco company; and that the wholesale distribution of Pernod Ricard and Diageo was to go to Indo Spirits and Brindco, respectively. Following recovery of the advance payment, the 6% “kickbacks” received from wholesalers was to be shared in half between Mr. Nair and Mr. Boinpally.
According to the ED, around ₹70 lakh from the “kickbacks” was paid in cash to volunteers in the AAP’s survey teams through “hawala” channels for election campaign ahead of the 2022 Goa Assembly polls.