Liquor trader paid Rs 1 crore to Manish Sisodia's associate: CBI FIR on Delhi excise policy

CBI has alleged that Sisodia and other accused public servants recommended and took decisions pertaining to excise policy 2021-22 without approval of competent authority

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (PTI photo-File)
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (PTI photo-File)
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PTI

A liquor trader paid Rs 1 crore to a company managed by an associate of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the CBI has claimed in its FIR on alleged corruption in the framing and implementation of the excise policy 2021-22.

The agency, which carried out raids at Sisodia's official residence in central Delhi and 30 other locations in seven states and Union territories on Friday, named 13 people and two companies in its FIR registered on August 17 under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In addition to Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio, the CBI has named as accused then excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, then deputy excise commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari, assistant excise commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar and nine businessmen.

The FIR was registered on a reference from the office of Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena routed through the Union Home Ministry.

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".

It said 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 out in November last year.

The agency has 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 alleged that Radha Industries managed by Dinesh Arora received Rs 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 Rs 2-4 crore from Sameer Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair," it claimed.

The agency said Sunny Marwah's Mahadev Liquors was granted L-1 licence under the policy. It alleged that Marwah, who was also 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.

"It was alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the lincencees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 licence without approval, etc.," the CBI's spokesperson said in a statement.

He said it was further alleged that illegal gains from these acts were diverted to the public servants concerned by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts.

Searches were conducted on Friday at 31 locations, including in Delhi, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Bengaluru, which, so far, have led to the recovery of incriminating documents, articles, digital records, etc., he said.

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