Wed, 30 Nov 2022

New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): A Delhi Court on Wednesday sent Vijay Nair, communication strategist of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to CBI remand for five days for his alleged role in the irregularities pertaining to the excise policy of the Delhi Government.

The same court also sent Sameer Mahendru to ED remand till October 6, 2022. Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi's Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, was arrested by the ED officials this morning.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recently filed Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) while initiating a money laundering probe in connection with the CBI FIR relating to the framing and execution of the Delhi Government's excise policy in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is the accused.

The Special Judge MK Nagpal on Wednesday while sending Vijay Nair on CBI remand, noted that the investigation of the case is at a nascent stage and detailed custodial interrogation of the accused is felt necessary not only to unearth the entire conspiracy, but the roles played by different accused persons including the public servants, but also to trace out the trail of ill-gotten money which is alleged to have been paid to the accused public servants by way of commission.

Further, the custodial interrogation of the accused is also felt necessary to confront him with the evidence which has already been collected by the investigation officer till now and he will even be required to be questioned with regard to the nature of data, which is stated to have been deleted from his mobile phones by way of formatting thereof, said the Court.

ED while seeking remand of Sameer Mahendru stated that the basis of the investigation conducted so far indicates that he is actually involved in the activity connected to the acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime and therefore, Sameer Mahandru is guilty of the offence of money laundering. Further, he has withheld information which is in his exclusive knowledge and extremely relevant to the investigation.

ED said, "Sameer needs to be interrogated with respect to others involved in the Cartelization and kickbacks to the associates/entities Public Servants".

The EDs arrested Sameer Mahendru a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Vijay Nair, former chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder, in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case.Among the accused public servants is Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

Other accused are Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; director of Buddy Retail Amit Arora, and Dinesh Arora; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval. The beneficiaries diverted 'illegal' gains to the accused officials and made false entries in theirbooks of account to evade detection.

An alleged, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19.

This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, said the FIR, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)

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