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Delhi excise policy case: ₹ 100 Crore bribes paid in liquor scam, claims ED

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday made a big claim after arresting two officials of two private companies in a case related to Delhi's liquor sale policy.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday claimed that a bribe of Rs 100 crore was paid in a case related to the new liquor sale policy (which is now over) in Delhi, in which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is an accused. The agency claimed that over three dozen VIPs, including Sisodia, allegedly exchanged 140 mobile phones to destroy digital evidence.

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Sisodia, who was subjected to multiple raids by the agency and the CBI in the case, denied any wrongdoing and said the allegations were politically motivated. They say that nothing has been found against them in the raids.

On the other hand, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has supported Sisodia, saying that the BJP-led government at the Center is targeting Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders ahead of the elections to be held in Gujarat next month. Investigative agencies are being misused. The Enforcement Directorate has made this claim after arresting two officials of two private companies on Thursday in a case related to the liquor sale policy.

The two arrested include Binoy Babu, general manager of liquor company Pernod Ricard, and P Saratha Chandra Reddy, whole-time director and promoter of Aurobindo Pharma. They were taken into custody shortly after midnight. The agency later produced them in a special court in Delhi and remanded them to seven days’ custody of the Enforcement Directorate, officials said.

Aurobindo Pharma Limited said in a note to the stock exchange that Reddy is not in any way connected with the operations of the company or its subsidiaries. Apart from these two, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested Sameer Mahendru, managing director of liquor maker Indospirit, in September.

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The agency told the court that Reddy collected around Rs 100 crore for bribes that were given to political leaders and officials. The officials alleged that both the arrested officers were evasive during interrogation. The agency also claimed that it also found that an investment of Rs 200 crore in the retail liquor business was done by an entity in violation of policy directions.

Save that the Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case stems from the CBI’s FIR, in which Manish Sisodia and others were made accused. The excise scheme came under scrutiny after the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

In this case, the Lieutenant Governor had also suspended 11 excise officers. ED has questioned AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak in this case and jailed minister Satyendar Jain in another money laundering case. CBI has arrested two people in this case.

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