Kickbacks Worth Rs 100 Crore In Delhi Excise Scam Used To Finance AAP's Goa Election Campaign: ED

Kickbacks Worth Rs 100 Crore Used To Finance AAP's Goa Campaign: ED In Second Chargesheet In Delhi Excise Scam Case

by Swarajya Staff - Friday, February 3, 2023 01:41 PM IST
Kickbacks Worth Rs 100 Crore Used To Finance AAP's Goa Campaign: ED In Second Chargesheet In Delhi Excise Scam CaseDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his deputy Manish Sisodia (Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 
  • ED also alleged that Deputy Chief Minister and Excise Minister, Manish Sisodia and others were using phones and SIM cards purchased under different names to hide their tracks.

The ED (Enforcement Directorate) filed a second charge sheet in the Delhi liquor scam case alleging that part of the Rs 100 crore in ‘kickbacks’ generated from the scrapped Delhi excise policy was used in the AAP campaign in the 2022 Goa assembly election.

As per a news report, the agency claimed that the party’s “need was for funding the elections in Punjab and Goa and the fund requirement was urgent”.

Use of Phones and SIM cards by Sisodia

ED also alleged that Deputy Chief Minister and Excise Minister, Manish Sisodia and others were using phones and SIM cards purchased under different names to hide their tracks.

“There are instances wherein accused/suspects have used SIM cards issued in the name of other persons and phones purchased in the name of other persons so that when they get caught they may take this excuse that either the SIM card is not in their name or that the phones were not purchased by them and belong to other persons,” the ED said in the charge sheet.

The ED, however, has not named Sisodia as accused in the charge sheet, and told the Court that further investigation is going on in the matter.

DANICS Officer's Statement

A DANICS officer, who served as Sisodia's secretary stated that he saw the proposals for the first time in the draft GoM (group of ministers) report, which was handed over to him in March 2021. He was directed to prepare a report on the basis of the said document and was called by his senior to the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The DANICS officer stated that there was no discussion in the GoM meetings about giving wholesale business to private entities or fixing a 12 per cent profit margin.

Video Call between Arvind Kejriwal and Sameer Mahendru

ED, in its charge sheet, said that a close aide of Kejriwal arranged a video call between him and Sameer Mahendru. During the call, Kejriwal referred to the associate as "his boy" and told Mahendru to trust him. The ED further alleged that the same associate received a kickback of 100 crore rupees from a group on behalf of AAP leaders, part of which was used in the election campaign.

Alleged Benefits from the Kickbacks

Against these kickbacks, the ED said, the 'South Group' “secured uninhibited access, undue favours, attained stakes in established wholesale businesses and multiple retail zones (over and above that was allowed in the policy).”

List of Individuals Named in the Charge Sheet

The ED named a total of 17 individuals and companies in this supplementary charge sheet.

It includes AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair, promoter of liquor company Indo Spirit Sameer Mahendru, director of liquor company Buddy Retail Pvt Limited Amit Arora, general manager of leading French wine company Pernod Ricard Benoy Babu, whole-time director and promoter of Aurobindo Pharma P Sarath Chandra Reddy and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally. They are all currently in judicial custody.

As per a news report, the ED has accused Vijay Nair of using his position and influence with top leaders of the AAP to misuse the Excise Department in Punjab to meet his illegal ends.

The ED's allegations are based on statements from rival liquor manufacturers in Punjab. It said that Nair and Dinesh Arora conspired to pressure local businesses into obtaining illegal funds with the support of the Delhi and Punjab governments. This happened after Nair got involved in the party campaigning during the Goa election.

Court Takes Cognisance

A court in Delhi has taken cognisance of the charge sheet against 12 individuals and companies accused in the scam.

The judge issued warrants for the arrest of five individuals and ordered representatives of seven companies to appear in court on the next hearing date.

"This court is of the considered opinion that there are sufficient grounds and material to proceed further in the matter against all the twelve accused being prosecuted through this supplementary complaint as they all, either directly or indirectly, are found to have attempted to or indulged in or knowingly assisted or have been a party to or actually involved in the process or activities connected with proceeds of crime generated through the above scheduled offences case, including its concealment, possession, acquisition, use and projection or claiming it to be untainted properties,” the judge said.

The excise policy was scrapped in August 2022 and the Delhi lieutenant governor asked the CBI to investigate alleged irregularities in the matter.

The Delhi chief minister has rejected the contents of the ED charge sheet, calling it fake and a means to topple his government.

(with inputs from PTI) 

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