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Excise policy scam case: ED questions Sisodia’s PA; raids at 5 places

The agency is also learnt to have picked a few suspects, including Devendra Sharma, a close aide and personal assistant of Sisodia, from their houses in Delhi and NCR.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

In the latest development in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday questioned the personal assistant of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, sources said.

The ED also conducted raids at five places in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) in connection with Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 money laundering case, the sources said.

The agency is also learnt to have picked a few suspects, including Devendra Sharma, a close aide and personal assistant of Sisodia, from their houses in Delhi and NCR. All the suspects, who were picked from their houses during ED’s search operation, are being questioned at ED’s headquarters here under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions.

In a tweet, Sisodia said the ED registered a “false” case against him after which it raided his PA’s house and “arrested” him.

“After lodging false FIR, they raided my house, searched bank lockers, and checked in my village but found nothing against me. Today, ED conducted a raid at my PA’s house. When ED did not find anything there either, they arrested him and took him away. BJP people! So much fear of losing the election..,” Sisodia tweeted in Hindi.

In October, the ED had also 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 the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, 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.

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.

 

(SNS with inputs from agencies)