Documents, laptops, hard drives and other electronic evidence were seized by the CBI during raids at 30 properties of liquor vendors and businessmen associated with deputy CM Manish Sisodia, the accused number 1 in alleged liquor policy corruption case.
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) searched Sisodia’s residence at Mathura Road for nearly 16 hours, a record by the agency in the recent past.
These liquor vendors allegedly gave bribes to officials of the Delhi excise department and got “undue favours” to obtain the licence under the now-scrapped excise policy.
Former excise commissioner Arva Gopikrishna was also booked in the case.
Earlier this month, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered suspension of nearly two dozen officers of the excise department over their alleged involvement in the corruption.
As the agency searched premises of the accused, The New Indian team visited the residences of two key accused – Sameer Mahendru and Amit Arora.
While Mahendru owns lndospirits, Arora is the director of Buddy Retail Pvt. Ltd. CBI has identified Arora as a “close associate” of Sisodia. Mahendru is accused of transferring Rs 1 crore to another accused in the case.
The agency revealed that the accused excise officials didn’t take bribes directly from the now-tainted liquor vendors. Instead, the money was routed through private persons.
In the case of Mahendru, the CBI said, one Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect “undue pecuniary advantage” from him to transfer it to Vijay Nair, a public servant.
Another person, Arjun Pandey, also collected about Rs 2 to 4 crores in cash from Mahendru on behalf of Nair, it said.
“No one has come out of the house since morning. Owners must be inside the house but they have not communicated anything with us,” said a guard posted outside Mahendru’s residence in Jor Bagh, a posh locality in South Delhi.
A team of CBI officials visited the residence of Arora at around 7:30 am and conducted searches till 2 pm on Friday.
“The CBI team confiscated one laptop and one hard disk along with some documents from Arora’s residence,” a staff member at his residence told The New Indian.
In its FIR, the agency has said that Arora was “actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees to accused public servants”.