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Delhi excise policy scam case: ED arrests director of Buddy Retail

Amit Arora, the accused number nine in the ED-CBI FIR in the case has been sent to seven-day ED remand by a Delhi court.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd, in connection with the alleged Delhi excise policy scam case, sources said here on Wednesday.

Arora, who was arrested by the probe agency from Gurugram the morning, was sent to seven-day ED remand by a Delhi court later in the day.

The ED had sought 14 days of custody of the accused. The court, however, conceded to a week’s remand.

Last week, the economic intelligence agency filed its first chargesheet in the matter.

Arora, the accused number nine in the ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s FIR, is the owner of Buddy Retail Private Limited. Running over 3,000 pages, the first chargesheet was filed against businessman Sameer Mahendru.

There are allegations that Arun Ramchandra Pillai, a resident of Kokapet in Hyderabad, used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant Vijay Nair.

The ED filed its case on the basis of the FIR of the CBI.

On Friday, the CBI filed its first chargesheet in the matter. It has chargesheeted Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Sameer Mahendru, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Mootha Gautham, and two public servants – the then Deputy Commissioner of Excise Department Kuldeep Singh and the then Assistant Commissioner of Excise Department Narender Singh.

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.

The CBI too filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.

The ED and the CBI have 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 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, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.