CBI questions key accused in Delhi excise policy case

The agency had issued a LOC against him on Sunday

August 22, 2022 09:59 pm | Updated 09:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recorded the statement of Sameer Mahendru, the managing director of Indospirit Group, in connection with the case alleging irregularities in the Delhi government’s now-withdrawn excise policy.

On Sunday, the agency had issued Look-Out Circulars (LoCs) against eight of the private persons who have been arraigned in the case, including Mr. Mahendru.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), Mr. Mahendru had transferred about ₹1 crore to the account of Radha Industries, which was managed by accused Dinesh Arora. Another accused, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, had collected money from him for further transfer to a public servant through Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company.

As alleged by the agency, Arjun Pandey — a close associate of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia — had also collected about ₹.2-4 crore from Mr. Mahendru on behalf of Mr. Nair.

The CBI case pertains to the allegation about irregularities while modifying the excise policy. Undue favours were allegedly extended to licence holders, licence fee was waived/reduced and L-1 licence extended without the competent authority’s permission. The illegal gains were transferred to the accused public servants by private parties, which made false entries in their books of accounts to conceal the money trail, as alleged in the FIR.

The Excise Department had purportedly decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs.30 crore to a successful tenderer in violation of rules. Although there was no enabling provision, it allowed waiver on tendered licence fee owing to the COVID-19 pandemic from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, allegedly causing a loss of Rs.144.36 crore to the exchequer.

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