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‘Except Oral, No Evidence’: Delhi Court Rubbishes CBI Claims In Liquor Case

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By: Anand Singh | New Delhi
Updated: November 16, 2022 19:56
Under the presidency of Adv Jatinder Pal Singh Ghumaan, DBA requested judges to adjourn cases to some other date.
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While granting bail to AAP communication in charge Vijay Nair and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Bonipally in the alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case, a local court observed that there was “no evidence, except oral, to show the transfer of huge amounts of money” as alleged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In its detailed order, special CBI judge MK Nagpal observed: “Except the oral evidence collected in the form of statements, there is also no other evidence or material gathered till date to show the alleged transmission of such huge amounts of money through the applicants by the other co-accused.”

“In any case, the above oral evidence will have to be tested during the course of trial and it will be a matter of time only if it is able to be transformed into an acceptable piece of evidence or not, which can be acted upon by this court,” he said.

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Both Nair and Bonipally are accused of a criminal conspiracy to influence the formulation of the excise policy. They are also accused of cartelization between the liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retail liquor vendors.

The CBI had submitted before the court that huge amounts of money were transferred through hawala channels even prior to the finalization of the excise policy by some liquor manufacturers in south India. “These amounts were routed through them and these amounts were meant for bribing the public servants and further, some ill-gotten money has also been routed back to the liquor manufacturers of south through Boinpally,” the CBI had submitted, as per the bail order.

“Though in the FIR, it was only alleged specifically that an amount of ₹2-4 crores was once collected by one Arjun Pandey from Sameer Mahandru of Indospirits on behalf of Nair, but during the course of submissions made on these bail applications, it has been stated by CBI counsel that the investigation conducting so far suggests that the money transferred illegally through these two accused may be between ₹20-30 crore or even more. This amount, however, is not found to be specifically stated in the replies filed to the bail applications of these two accused,” the judge said.

On CBI’s submission that Nair attended various meetings in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad in connection with the formulation of the excise policy, the court said that no criminality can be attached to attending those meetings as Nair was looking after AAP’s press and media affairs in the national capital.

The court also said that no incriminating material was recovered from the possession or at the instance of any of Nair and Bonipally. It noted that neither of the accused was a ‘flight risk’.

Nair was arrested by the CBI on September 27 and Bonipally on October 10.

They were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday, a day ahead of their scheduled production before the special court.

The case was registered by the CBI on August 17 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.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is the minister of excise, has been named as accused number one in the case. His residence was searched by the CBI on August 19, along with 30 other locations across the country in connection with the case.

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