In the Excise case related to money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday, while seeking remand of businessman Amit Arora, apprised the court that the "magnitude of the destruction is such that most suspects, liquor barons, senior government officials, the Excise Minister of Delhi and other suspects have changed their phones multiple times.
ED said, the approximate value of the devices used and destroyed comes to a whooping sum of Rs. 1.38 crore approximately (as per open source information w.r.t. the make and model of the devices as per IMEI numbers found in CDR.
ED also said that evidence with respect to the subject liquor scam was stored in digital formats both in mobile phones and laptops, however, as soon as the scam was unearthed and the case was surfaced/handed over to investigating agency, a large number of digital devices were found to be destroyed/changed by the persons involved/suspected to be involved in this case.
ED also told that Investigation w.r.t role of freshly arrested accused Amit Arora has revealed that, he is one of the key persons who along with Dinesh Arora actively assisted Vijay Nair along with excise officials, Minister in charge of Excise and others in the Excise Policy Scam. Being an established player in the liquor industry, he was using his insider knowledge to assist in the Excise scam in collusion with Dinesh Arora and Vijay Nair.
He along with Dinesh Arora was the connection between the cartel of manufacturers/retail/wholesalers on the one hand and the political leadership of AAP on the other. Further, he facilitated the transfer of a bribe of Rs. 2.5 cr. which was the 6 per cent kickback to be given to Vijay Nair on behalf of the AAP leaders (some of them being part of the Government). In addition, he was also conniving with the Excise officials and gave bribes of Rs. 1 Cr to them, said the ED.
He was instrumental in bringing political pressure of State Govt. of Punjab in April - May 2022 to get undue benefits by forcing other players who were not agreeing with the extortion and kickback to surrender their licenses. His prime role in the whole scam is the evidence from thefact, that, he not only got 1 L1 and 2 L7 licenses but was also actively associated with the other affairs pertaining to the implementation of the Excise Policy and he used to say to other persons that "Hum hi government hain", ED said.
Using the influence of Manish Sisodia, he also got the approval of shifting one of hisshops immediately after the direct intervention of Manish Sisodia. This fact has been disclosed by Dinesh Arora in his statements and admitted by Amit Arora as well.
The Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday sent Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd to ED remand in connection with the alleged Delhi Excise Policy scam money Laundering case.
Arora's name is mentioned in both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation cases as accused along with Dinesh Arora, another director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd. Other accused named are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey are some more accused in the case.
The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials had said.
The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval. The beneficiaries diverted "illegal" gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.
An alleged, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fee was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19.
This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)