The Rouse Avenue Court on Monday issued notice to Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a bail petition moved by businessman Sharath Chandra Reddy, who was recently arrested in Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and money laundering case.
Special Judge Vikas Dhull on Monday sought a response from ED and slated it for December 13, 2022. The Court also extended the judicial custody of the accused for further 14 days in the matter. The Counsel for ED told the court that the investigation against him is going on, charge sheet has not been filed against Sharath Chandra Reddy yet.
According to ED, Reddy is the head of a Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma company and is engaged in the liquor business.
While arguing against Sarath Reddy, ED earlier submitted that it is amply evident that, he had actively planned and conspired with various business owners and politicians and indulged in unfair market practices to gain undue advantage in the Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-22. Sarath Reddy led a nexus controlling a huge market share by way of cartelization in clear contravention of the objectives of the Delhi Excise Policy.
In October, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case.
Among the accused in the case 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 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 fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19.