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Delhi liquor policy case: Businessman Sameer Mahendru arrested by ED

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged in its FIR that Mahendru was also actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of excise policy.

Residence of Sameer Mahendru at Jor Bagh 207 in New Delhi, where CBI had conducted searches last month. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Sameer Mahendru, the Managing Director of Indospirit Group, in connection with a money laundering probe it has launched in connection with the Delhi government’s now scrapped liquor policy, officials confirmed.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged in its FIR that Mahendru was also actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of excise policy.

Mahendra’s arrest comes a day after Vijay Nair, the former CEO of events company Only Much Louder (OML) who had been associated with the Aam Aadmi Party, was arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case.

The CBI First Information Report also said a person named Arjun Pandey collected an amount of about Rs 2 to 4 crore from Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair.

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On September 7, the ED had conducted searches at 35 locations across the country in connection with their probe and it had also searched the Jor Bagh residence of Mahendru, who is an accused in the case.

The ED case, which was registered earlier this month, is based on a CBI FIR 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.

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.”

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“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 Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, an ex-employee of Pernod Ricard, the owner of Brindco Spirits Amandeep Dhal, and 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. 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,” it added.

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“Source further revealed that Sameer Mahendru, MD, Indospirit, has transferred an amount of one crore to the account of Radha Industries. Radha Industries is being managed by Dinesh Arora. Source further revealed that Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant through Vijay Nair.”

First published on: 28-09-2022 at 10:18:09 am
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