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Delhi Excise Policy Case: ED Arrests AAP Communication In-charge Vijay Nair, Businessman Abhishek Bonipally

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By: Anand Singh | NEW DELHI
Updated: November 14, 2022 10:43
Vijay Nair
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Moving ahead in its money laundering probe into Delhi’s now scrapped Excise Policy 2021-22 case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) communication in-charge Vijay Nair and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Bonipally, sources said on Monday.

An ED source wishing not to be named told The New Indian, “ED has arrested Nair and Bonipally in the Excise Policy case.”

Earlier, both were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The ED arrested Nair before his bail hearing in court here.

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The arrests come just days after the financial probe agency arrested P Sarath C Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma and Binoy Babu of Pernod Ricard on Thursday last week.

The ED had earlier arrested Sameer Mahandru, MD of Indospirits, in connection with the case.

In its probe into the money laundering probe into the now scrapped Delhi Excise Police 2021-22 case, the ED has found that all the 34 suspected persons including the accused had changed 140 mobile phones worth ₹1.2 crores to destroy digital evidence.

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The revelation was made by the ED in its remand paper for two accused, Reddy and Babu, who were arrested on Thursday. The court sent both accused to seven-day ED custody.

“A large number of mobile phones have been changed by the persons involved or suspected to be involved in this case with the intention to destroy digital evidence during the relevant period,” the ED had said.

The ED said that all “34 important persons involved or suspected to be involved in the excise scam have changed a total of 140 phones”, valued at ₹1.2 crores, with an intention to destroy digital evidence during the relevant period.

“The timing of the change of phones indicates that these were mostly changed just after the scam surfaced,” the ED had alleged.

The CBI registered a case on August 17 to probe the alleged irregularities in the new excise policy case.

The Delhi Deputy Chief minister, Manish Sisodia, who is also the Excise minister, has been named as accused number one in this case. The CBI also raided the premises of Sisodia on August 19, along with 30 other locations across the country in connection with the case.

The CBI had filed the FIR based on a complaint received from Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, who flagged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy.

Besides Sisodia, the CBI has named 14 others, including three public servants – then excise commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna; then deputy excise commissioner Anand Tiwari and assistant commissioner (excise) Pankaj Bhatnagar.

Some private persons, including Nair, who is also the former CEO of Mumbai-based Only Much Louder; Mahendru, MD of Indospirits; Manoj Rai, a former employee of Lucknow-based Pernod Ricard; Amit Arora, director of Gurgaon-based Buddy Retail Private Limited; Dinesh Arora, Delhi-based Mahadev Liquors; Sunny Marwah, an authorised signatory of Mahadev Liquors; Arun Ramchandra Pillai of Karnataka’s Bangalore and Arjun Pandey of Gurgaon, have also been named in the CBI FIR.

The ED had also alleged that during the course of the investigation, various persons involved in the Delhi excise scam had revealed that a bribe of ₹100 crore had been given in advance for undue benefits to select business groups by the Delhi government.

The ED further said that it has also been found that kickbacks and bribes were demanded and taken by the Excise officials of Delhi for the opening of retail shops in Delhi.

The ED has carried out searches at over 169 locations in connection with the case to date.

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