The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday conducted fresh raids and questioned Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s personal secretary (PA) Devendra Sharma alias Rinku in connection with the alleged corruption in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
ED officials conducted searches at five locations, including at the properties of Sisodia’s close associates, sources in the agency told The New Indian. Rinku was picked up from his residence and was being questioned till late on Saturday night.
Sisodia, considered the second-most powerful leader in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is accused of corruption in the distribution of licences for authorised outlets in the capital city.
Reacting to the developments, Sisodia said his associate was detained on the instruction of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“They got my house raided based on a false FIR, searched my bank lockers, visited my village but found nothing against me. Today, they did not find anything in their raid at the home of my PA, so they have now detained him and taken him away,” he tweeted, saying that the BJP is afraid of losing upcoming Assembly elections to the AAP.
At a press conference, AAP leader Dilip Pandey said that the agencies have registered fake cases and keep harassing AAP leaders, claiming that Sisodia could be arrested soon.
“Today, they have arrested Sisodia’s PA. Soon, they will arrest Sisodia. But they cannot scare us with their actions,” Pandey added.
Earlier, the ED conducted raids in 35 locations and seized cash to the tune of Rs 1 crore in searches at properties of Amandeep Dhal, director of Delhi-based Brindco Sales Pvt Ltd and another person named Gautam Malhotra.
ED had arrested Indospirits managing director Sameer Mahendru from his house in south Delhi’s Jor Bagh. It has also questioned several people from Punjab and Hyderabad, including two IAS officers and a joint commissioner in the alleged multi-crore corruption case.
Young AAP leader Durgesh Pathak, who represents Rajinder Nagar in the Delhi Assembly, was also quizzed by the agency in September for more than 10 hours.
The money laundering case registered by the ED is based on an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 17 this year. The CBI FIR pertains to allegations of irregularities in the distribution of liquor shop licences under the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
Delhi deputy chief minister and AAP’s second-in-command Manish Sisodia has been named as Accused number 1 in this case.
On September 27, the CBI arrested Vijay Nair, AAP communication in-charge and the former CEO of Mumbai-based entertainment and event management company Only Much Louder. It had also arrested Hyderabad-based Abhishek Bonipally.