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Delhi Excise policy case: ED arrests Hyderabad businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai in connection with its ongoing probe in Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 money laundering case, sources said on Tuesday.
Pillai was arrested late on Monday night following his day-long questioning by the ED officials in the case here in the national capital. The agency has so far arrested 11 persons in the case. Pillai's arrest comes close on the heels of former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia's arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case.
He is among other accused named in the case along with 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 and Arjun Pandey are some more accused in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate, last week, arrested liquor businessman Amandeep Dhall in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.
On last Thursday, Dhall, owner of Brindco Sales Private Limited, was produced before a special court that sent him to five-day ED custody. It is alleged that he was part of the conspiracy to formulate and implement an excise policy that extended favours to liquor manufacturers and distributors.
In February, the federal agency also arrested Rajesh Joshi, owner of Chariot Production Media Pvt Ltd, in the case.
Last month, the agency arrested Punjab-based businessman Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra, 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 Mahandru as one of the accused.
The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.
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.
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 and arrested him later.
The CBI too filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.
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.
As per the allegations, 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)

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