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ED Attaches the Assets Worth Rs 76 Crore in ‘Delhi Liquor Scam’

The ED has conducted searches in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and other places

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: Directorate of Enforcement (ED) investigating the ‘Delhi liquor scam’ has provisionally attached assets worth Rs. 76.54 crore, including residential properties worth Rs. 35 crore in Jor Bagh, New Delhi, owned by Sameer Mahendru and Geetika Mahendru.

Delhi Excise Policy 2021–22, implemented on November 17, 2021, by the Delhi Government, is described as the “Delhi liquor scam” since licences for 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. 

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However, after Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an investigation into the policy, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government rolled back the policy on July 30, 2022. In September, Delhi was back to its old liquor policy, under which only state-run liquor stores were allowed to operate.

An ED investigation revealed that acts of corruption and conspiracy in formulating and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2021–22 resulted in a loss to the government exchequer of at least Rs. 2873 crore due to deliberate faulty policy formulation to pass on undue favours to certain private players in collusion with the Excise Department of the Government of Delhi.

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On Wednesday, January 25, the properties attached by the ED included: Sameer Mahandru and Geetika Mahendru (residential properties worth Rs. 35 crore in Jor Bagh, New Delhi), Amit Arora (the residential premise of Rs. 7.68 crore in Magnolias, Gurugram, Haryana), Vijay Nair (AAP’s communication-in-charge) (the residential premise of Rs. 1.77 crore in Crescent Bay, Parel, in South Central Mumbai), Dinesh Arora (assets worth Rs. 3.18 crore (“Chica”, “La Roca,” and “Unplugged Courtyard” restaurants in Delhi/Gurgaon) and Arun Pillai( land parcel worth Rs. 2.25 crore in Vattinagula (Hyderabad).

Besides, 50 vehicles worth Rs. 10.23 crore owned by Indospirit Group and bank balances, fixed deposits, and financial instruments worth Rs. 14.39 crore were attached.

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Proceeds of crime generated by the activities relating to the scheduled offence under Section 07 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code, to the tune of Rs. 76.54 crores, have been traced and attached so far, the ED statement read.

The ED has searched multiple locations across the country, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and other places. 

Six accused, namely, Vijay Nair, Sameer Mahendru, Amit Arora, P Sarath Chandra Reddy, Benoy Babu, and Abhishek Boinpally Rao, have been arrested and are currently in judicial custody. (A Delhi court on Friday granted 14-day interim bail to P Sarath Chandra Reddy for performing the last rites of his deceased grandmother).

On August 17, 2022, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 14 other people on charges of irregularities in the excise policy.

Two prosecution complaints have been filed, and the Special PMLA court has also taken cognizance of the offense. The charge sheet filed by ED on December 21, 2022, before a particular judge at the Rouse Avenue district court in Delhi also named Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter and MLC K Kavitha as one of the persons of the “South Group,” comprising three other members, who paid kickbacks of Rs 100 crore to the AAP to gain control over the liquor business in Delhi.

The other four individuals named in the charge sheet include Abhishek Boinpally, an alleged consultant who lobbied for alleged ‘South Group’, Aurobindo Pharma’s promoter P Sarath Chandra Reddy, Pernod Ricard’s manager Benoy Babu, and Amit Arora, owner of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd.

AAP’s Communication-in-Charge Vijay Nair is being accused of receiving kickbacks to Rs 100 crore from the South Group, whose prominent members are Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Raghav Magunta, P Sarath Reddy, and K Kavitha. 

These kickbacks were paid in advance as part of an agreement between the South Group and the AAP leaders, the ED alleges in its charge sheet.

Also Read: Enforcement Directorate Searches Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut’s Residence in Mumbai

Author

  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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