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Delhi excise policy case: ED arrests Chariot Media owner Rajesh Joshi
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested the owner of Chariot Production Media Pvt Ltd, Rajesh Joshi, in connection with its ongoing probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 money laundering case, sources said on Thursday.
Rajesh Joshi was arrested from the national capital following the questioning and evidence against him showing his involvement in the case. He is likely be produced before a special court in the afternoon.
This is the second arrest by the ED in the case in the last two days. Previously, the federal agency had arrested Punjab-based businessman Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra, on Tuesday.
Gautam Malhotra, the Director of liquor manufacturing and distribution firm- the OASIS group, was arrested on Tuesday on the charges of money laundering. The ED sleuths had arrested the businessman following his questioning in the case. He is accused cartelisation in the Delhi Excise policy case.
On Tuesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant, understood to be the auditor of BRS MLC K Kavitha.
The other accused named in the case are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari, and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey are some other accused persons in the case.
The agency, last year, filed its first chargesheet before a court in the national capital in the (Delhi) excise policy money laundering case naming liquor businessman Sameer Mahendru as one of the accused.
The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR and taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.
The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials had said.
A total of five people had been arrested by the ED in this case till November 2022, excluding Amit Arora. Sameer Mahendru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 27 following his questioning.
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, 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.
As 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, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)