Delhi Excise Policy case: ED arrests two businessmen among pharma firm head

10 November, 2022 | Pranay Lad

ED Top News

According to reports, the Enforcement Directorate has detained two businessmen from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 money laundering case.

In the Delhi Excise Policy 2021–22 money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate has reportedly detained two businessmen from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, according to sources.

Sharath Chandra Reddy and Binoy Babu have been identified as businessmen. They were detained on Wednesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after a day of questioning at the Enforcement Directorate headquarters.

The businesspeople will appear before a special court in the national capital later today.

Reddy is the owner of a liquor store in Hyderabad and the CEO of an Aurobindo Pharma firm. Babu, on the other hand, is the CEO of Pernord Ricard.

According to the sources, both businessmen were detained because of their involvement in the ED’s continuing investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy money laundering case.

The action comes only days after the Enforcement Directorate questioned Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s personal aide, Devendra Sharma, in the matter, which was followed by searches in five locations throughout Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

The agency is also said to have arrested a few individuals, including Devendra Sharma, Sisodia’s close aide and personal assistant, from their homes in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

Following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, the case, the ED searched almost three dozen premises in Delhi and Punjab in October.

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

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.

During the investigation into the Delhi excise policy scandal, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) detained businessman Vijay Nair, former CEO of event management company Only Much Louder, on September 27.

Abhishek Boinpally was recently detained by the CBI in connection with an ongoing investigation into suspected irregularities in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s excise policy.

According to the CBI, Abhishek Boinpally was a part of the plot in which he transmitted money through hawala channels to co-accused Vijay Nair via co-accused Dinesh Arora prior to the policy’s implementation from November 2021 to July 2022.

According to the ED and the CBI, irregularities were committed while changing the Excise Policy, excessive favours were granted to licence holders, the licence price was waived or decreased, and the L-1 licence was extended without the consent of the relevant authorities. To avoid discovery, the recipients shifted “illegal” income to the accused authorities and created fake entries in their books of account.

According to the allegations, the Excise Department chose to reimburse the Earnest Money Deposit of around Rs 30 crore to a winning tenderer in violation of the established regulations. Despite the lack of an enabling clause, COVID-19 allows for a remission on tendering licencing costs from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022.

According to the FIR, this resulted in a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, based on a referral from the Union Home Ministry and a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

In August, the CBI filed a case in an excise insurance fraud and issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against eight private individuals designated as defendants.

The FIR names a total of nine private individuals. LOCs have been issued against all private individuals except Manoj Rai, ex-vice president of Pernod Ricard.