The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested one more person — a liquor businessman, Abhishek Boinpally — in connection with a case alleging irregularities in the Delhi Government’s now-withdrawn excise policy, in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is also an accused, officials said Monday, October 10, 2022.
The accused is an associate of Arun Ramchandra Pillai, who is one of the 15 persons named in the First Information Report.
The agency had earlier arrested Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder, in the same case.
Among the accused public servants are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
The others are Manoj Rai, former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; Sameer Mahendru, managing director of Indospirit Group; Buddy Retail and its director Amit Arora, Dinesh Arora, Mahadev Liquors, its authorised signatory Sunny Marwah and Arjun Pandey.
The CBI has alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy; undue favours were extended to licence holders; licence fee was waived or reduced; and L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted the "illegal" gains to the accused public servants and made false entries in their books of accounts to conceal the money trail.
The Excise Department had allegedly decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about ₹30 crore to a successful tenderer against the existing rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, waiver on tendered licence fee was allowed due to COVID-19 from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, allegedly causing a loss of Rs.144.36 crore to the exchequer.
Money laundering probe
Based on the CBI case, the Enforcement Directorate is also carrying out a money laundering probe and had recently arrested Mr. Mahendru.
He had allegedly transferred about ₹1 crore to the account of Radha Industries, managed by co-accused Dinesh Arora; Mr. Pillai had received money from him for further transfer to a public servant via Mr. Nair.
Another alleged conduit, Arjun Pandey had collected about ₹2-4 crore from Mr. Mahendru on behalf of Mr. Nair.
Following Nair’s arrest, the Aam Aadmi Party had alleged that he was being forced to take Mr. Sisodia’s name when he was called for questioning and when he refused to it, he was threatened with arrest.
“Vijay Nair is the communication in-charge of AAP. He was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies in Punjab earlier and Gujarat now. He has nothing to do with the Excise Policy,” the statement had said.