In a major development in the now scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 Case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Vijay Nair, a close associate of Delhi Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia.
“We have arrested Nair in connection with the case,” a CBI source related to the probe told The New Indian.
This is the first arrest in the case – more than a month after the agency registered a case on August 17 against Sisodia, Nair and 13 others.
The CBI had also carried out searches at 31 locations, including the premises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, across the country in connection with the case.
The CBI has also named three public servants – Arva Gopi Krishna, the then Excise Commissioner and IAS officer; Anand Tiwari, the then Deputy Excise Commissioner and Pankaj Bhatnagar, Assistant Commissioner (Excise).
The CBI has also named private persons Manoj Rai, ex-employee of Lucknow-based Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, Director of Delhi-based Brindco Sales Pvt. Ltd.; Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi-based lndospirit Group; Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Private Limited; Gurgaon-based Buddy Retail Private Limited; Dinesh Arora, Delhi-based Mahadev Liquors; Sunny Marwah, authorised signatory of Mahadev Liquors; Arun Ramchandra Pillai of Karnataka’s Bangalore and Arjun Pandey of Gurgaon.
The CBI also named other unnamed public servants and private persons in its First Information Report (FIR).
The CBI FIR is based on the complaint received from Lt Governor of Delhi VK Saxena alleging irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) for the year 2021-22.
In the FIR, it has been alleged that Sisodia, Krishna, Tiwari and Bhatnagar 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.
The CBI FIR further read that reliable sources have revealed that Nair, Rai, Dhal and Mahendru are actively involved in irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy of GNCTD of Delhi for the year 2021-22.
The FIR further read: “Source further revealed that some of the L-1 Licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-intio 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, Dinesh Arora, Pandey are close associates of Sisodia and are actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from Liquor Licensees to accused public servants,” it alleged.
“Source further revealed that Mahendru, MD of lndospirits has transferred an amount of one crore to account no 10220210****47 of Radha Industries maintained with UCO Bank, Rajendra Place, New Delhi,” it said.
Radha Industries is being managed by Dinesh Arora, a close associate of Sisodia.
The CBI FIR said that Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Mahendru, MD of lndospirit for onward transmission to the accused public servant through Nair. “A person named Arjun Pandey has once collected a huge cash amount of about ₹2-4 crore from Mahendru on behalf of Nair,” it said.
Besides CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a case of money laundering in the case. The ED had also carried out searches at several locations and questioned several people in connection with the case, including AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak.