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CBI lists 15 accused, including Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, in excise scam FIR

New Delhi, Aug 19 (ANI): Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia seen inside at his residence while CBI conducting a raid, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)
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New Delhi, Aug 19 (ANI): Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia seen inside at his residence while CBI conducting a raid, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

  • CBI raided the Delhi residence of Sisodia, that of IAS officer and former Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and 19 other locations across 7 states and Union Territories on Friday

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has listed 15 accused, including the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in its FIR on alleged excise scam. The agency conducted raids in 19 locations on Friday including the residence of Manish Sisodia.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday raided the Delhi residence of Sisodia, 50, that of IAS officer and former Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and 19 other locations across seven states and Union Territories.

The CBI has registered an FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in formulation and execution of Delhi Excise Policy brought in November last year.

Meanwhile, news agency PTI, also reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) may initiate a money laundering investigation over the framing and execution of the AAP government's excise policy. 

The federal agency is understood to be examining details of the CBI case, involvement of various government officials and private individuals and the possible trail of illegal money generated in the process before it files a formal case under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had put out a tweet in Hindi, "CBI has come. He is welcome. We are extremely honest. Making the future of millions of children," when loosely translated. Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that he will co-operate, truth will come out.

Sisodia holds multiple portfolios in the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government including that of excise and education.

Delhi Excise Policy controversy

The Delhi Excise Policy was scrapped by the Delhi government in July. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on 30 July, that the Delhi government's ambitious new liquor policy (Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22) will be scrapped entirely and that from 1 August, only government owned liquor vendors will be allowed to sell alcohol in the national capital.

The scheme came under the scanner after Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena last month recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

He also suspended 11 excise officials in the matter. Sisodia too demanded a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the policy.

Charges filed by CBI

The CBI inquiry was recommended based on 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 said.

The charges that were filed include

-A liquor trader paid 1 crore to a company managed by an associate of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the CBI has claimed in its FIR

-The CBI FIR mentions “deliberate and gross procedural lapses" to provide post-tender "undue benefits to liquor licensees"

-The agency has alleged that Sisodia and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions pertaining to the excise policy 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with "an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender".

-The report states Vijay Nair, former CEO of Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company, Manoj Rai, former employee of Pernod Ricard, Amandeep Dhal, owner of Brindco Spirits, and Sameer Mahendru, owner of Indospirits, were actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy brought in November last year.

-CBI further alleged Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt. Limited in Gurgaon, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey are "close associates" of Sisodia and were "actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees" for the accused public servants.

-The CBI has also alleged that Radha Industries managed by Dinesh Arora received 1 crore from Sameer Mahendru of Indospirits.

"Source further revealed that Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to the accused public servants through Vijay Nair. A person named Arjun Pandey has once collected a huge cash amount of about 2-4 crore from Sameer Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair," it said.

-The agency alleged that Sunny Marwah's Mahadev Liquors was granted L-1 licence under the policy. It also alleged that Marwah, who was on the board of firms of the deceased liquor baron Ponty Chadha, was in close contact with the accused public servants and regularly paid bribes to them.

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