The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested another businessman, Amit Arora, in connection with a money laundering probe it had launched on the Delhi government’s now-scrap[ed liquor policy. This is the sixth arrest in this case by the ED.
Sources said Amit Arora is a director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, Gurgaon, and he was arrested Tuesday night under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is expected to be produced before a local court where the agency will seek his custody, the sources added.
The ED also filed its first charge sheet (prosecution complaint) in the case last week, naming arrested businessman Sameer Mahandru and a few other entities in it.
The ED case, which was registered in September, is based on a First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation filed in August. The CBI had booked Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, three excise department officials, and several vendors and distributors among the 15 accused it had arraigned in its FIR. “Source further revealed that Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, Gurgaon; Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey are close associates of Manish Sisodia and are actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees to accused public servants,” the CBI FIR had stated.
The CBI FIR had stated: “Praveen Kumar Rai, Director, MHA…has conveyed directions of the competent authority for enquiry into the matter of irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD of Delhi for the year 2021-22 by Central Bureau of Investigation. He has also forwarded a letter of L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena alleging irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy.”
“The OM is enclosed herewith, which discloses that Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM; Arava Gopi Krishna, then Commissioner (Excise); Anand Tiwari, then Deputy Commissioner (Excise); and Pankaj Bhatnagar, Assistant Commissioner (Excise) were instrumental in recommending and taking decisions pertaining to excise policy for the year 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licensee post tender,” it added.
The CBI also said in its FIR citing ‘reliable sources’, who it said have revealed that AAP’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, an ex-employee of Pernod Ricard, the owner of Brindco Spirits Amandeep Dhal, and Indospirit MD Sameer Mahendru are “actively involved in irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy”.
“Source further revealed that some of the L-1 licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-initio intention to divert the funds as an undue pecuniary advantage to public servants. In furtherance to this, they are showing false entries in their books of accounts to keep their record straight,” it added.