In one of their longest searches in recent times, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recovered some confidential documents related to Delhi’s new Excise Policy on Friday.
The central agency searched 31 locations, including the premises of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in Delhi, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Bengaluru. The premises of former Delhi Excise Commissioner A Gopi Krishna were also searched.
Besides Sisodia and Krishna, the CBI has named Anand Kumar Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner (Excise), Pankaj Bhatnagar, former Assistant Commissioner (Excise), 10 liquor licensees, their associates and unknown others were also named in the alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the Excise Policy of Delhi.
According to a CBI source familiar with the investigation, during searches at one of the public servants, agency sleuths discovered some confidential files related to Excise Policy 2021-22. The source, however, did not share the name of the public servant from whose premises it was recovered.
In the FIR, the CBI alleged that irregularities were committed, including modifications in the Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licensees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 licence without approval etc.
The CBI also alleged that illegal gains on the count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties through false entries in their books of accounts.
As per the CBI FIR, “Sameer Mahendru, MD of Indospirits, transferred an amount of ₹1 crore to account no. 1022021****647 of Radha Industries maintained within New Delhi. Radha Industries is being managed by Dinesh Arora.” Arora is said to be a close associate of Sisodia.
The FIR also stated that accused Arun Ramchandra Pillai allegedly used to collect “undue pecuniary advantage from Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant through Vijay Nair”.
The CBI said that Sisodia’s associate Arjun Pandey reportedly collected about ₹2 crore-₹4 crore in cash from Mahendru on behalf of accused Nair, the former CEO of an entertainment and event management company, Only Much Louder.