ED arrests Sameer Mahendru in Delhi Excise Policy case

28 September, 2022 | Pragati Singh

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The Enforcement Directorate arrested Sameer Mahendru from the national capital on Wednesday as part of its money laundering investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. Mahendru, the Managin...

The Enforcement Directorate arrested Sameer Mahendru from the national capital on Wednesday as part of its money laundering investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

Mahendru, the Managing Director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, was detained this morning during ED raids. The ED’s action came a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) detained Vijay Nair, former CEO of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder, in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case on Tuesday.

Among those charged are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, former Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari, and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

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

According to the ED and the CBI, irregularities were committed when changing the Excise Policy, excessive favours were offered to licence holders, licence fees were waived or decreased, and the L-1 licence was extended without the consent of the relevant authorities.

The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books 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 fee 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.