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Delhi Excise Policy case: Two arrested businessmen send to ED remand

ANI | Updated: Nov 10, 2022 20:21 IST

New Delhi [India] November 10 (ANI): The Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday sent two arrested businessmen from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to a week's remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the 2021-22 Delhi Excise Policy and money laundering case.
The arrested businessmen were identified as Sharath Chandra Reddy and Binoy Babu. They were arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following day-long questioning at the ED's headquarters in the national capital.
Reddy is the head of Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma company and is also into liquor business. Babu heads a company named Pernord Ricard. Both were held for their alleged involvement in the excise policy money laundering case.
They were produced before Special Judge MK Nagpal who decided to send them to 7 days' remand.
The ED submitted that it was amply evident that Sarath Reddy had "actively planned and conspired with various business owners and politicians and indulged in unfair market practices to gain undue advantage in Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-22". Reddy led a nexus controlling a huge market share by way of cartelization in clear contravention of the objectives of Delhi Excise Policy, the ED alleged.

The development comes days after the ED questioned Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's personal assistant, Devendra Sharma, and followed it with raids conducted at five places in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) in connection with the case.
The ED, while seeking their custody, said huge digital/physical records have been seized during search operations conducted till date under Section 17 of PMLA, 2002. There was a need to present the evidence before the accused, it said, adding that need to be questioned on other associates or entities involved in the cartelisation and kickbacks to public servants.
In October, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, the managing director of Delhi's Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case.
Among the accused named in the case are Deputy CM Sisodia, then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
The ED and the CBI have alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders. It was further alleged that the licence fee was waived or reduced and L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval. The beneficiaries were also alleged to have diverted 'illegal' gains to accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.
It was also alleged that the excise department had decided to refund Earnest Money Deposit with about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, waiver on tendered licence fee was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to Covid-19, it was alleged.
This malpractices resulted in a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, stated the FIR, which was filed on reference from the Ministry of Home Affairs following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)