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CBI questions accused who played ‘active role’ in Delhi excise policy

Delhi News : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday questioned a few private persons named in the first information report (FIR) pertaining to irregularities in Delhi’s excise policy 2021-22, who played an “active role” in framing and implementing the policy along with excise department officials, people familiar with the development said.

The federal agency didn’t name which accused were called for questioning but nine private persons– Dinesh Arora, a close associate of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Manoj Rai, former employee of Pernod Ricard, Sameer Mahendru, managing director of Jor Bagh based Indospirit Group, Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales Pvt Ltd, Vijay Nair, former CEO of Mumbai based event management company M/s Only Much Louder, Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Private Ltd, Sunny Marwah of Mahadev Liquors, Telangana based individual, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, and a Gurugram resident Arjun Pandey– are named as accused along with Sisodia and three excise officials.

Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, Amandeep Dhal and Sameer Mahendru were allegedly actively involved in framing and implementation of excise policy of Delhi government about which CBI wants to know whether they had free access to excise department files and office space.

Officials cited above said Sisodia and excise department officials will also be soon called for examination.

Some of the private persons themselves were into liquor vending business and hence major beneficiaries of the excise policy approved by Sisodia while a few of them are being treated as “middlemen”, said a CBI officer, who didn’t want to be named.

The agency has claimed in the FIR that some of the L-1 licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-initio intention to divert funds as undue pecuniary advantage to public servants.

A second officer cited above said the L-1 licencees are being asked about the public servants who were benefiting with the policy.

The agency, while indirectly referring to corruption on part of Sisodia, has said that Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey are close associates of Manish Sisodia and are “actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licencees to accused public servants.” Being the deputy CM and minister in-charge of excise department, Sisodia has been charged under criminal conspiracy and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The agency is also probing as to who was to get the payment of 1 crore, transferred by Sameer Mahendru to Dinesh Arora, and another payment of 2-4 crore given to Arjun Pandey.

On Friday, the agency raided 31 places including Sisodia’s residence for almost 14 hours.

The excise scheme came under the scanner after Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena last month recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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