Delhi Excise Policy scam: Manish Sisodia's aide Dinesh Arora set to be approver
The CBI has sought permission from the court to make Arora, currently on anticipatory bail, an approver in the case. The probe agency did not oppose his bail plea.
Published: 07th November 2022 05:08 PM | Last Updated: 07th November 2022 07:39 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Fresh trouble seems to be on the cards for Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as businessman Dinesh Arora --- his close aide and an accused in Delhi's Excise Policy scam case --- has decided to turn approver in the case.
The CBI has sought permission from the court to make Arora, currently on anticipatory bail, an approver in the case.
The development assumes significance as CBI had recently questioned Sisodia, named as prime accused by CBI in the charge sheet, for nine hours in connection with the irregularities in the Delhi excise case. The policy was formulated and enforced after Sisodia endorsed it.
A court here will decide on November 14 whether to allow the CBI to make Dinesh Arora an approver.
The court had earlier granted anticipatory bail to Arora after the probe agency did not oppose the bail plea.
Special Judge M K Nagpal will hear arguments on Arora's plea to grant him pardon in the matter and allow him to become a witness in the matter.
During the hearing, Dinesh told the court that he was ready to make "true disclosure voluntarily" about the case and that he wanted to be an approver in the case.
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"There is no pressure or threats by the CBI or anyone else," he said in response to the court's query.
Arora's counsel also moved an application for in-camera proceedings, saying it is a sensitive matter and the media should be kept out at this early stage. The CBI did not oppose the application for the in-camera proceedings.
The CBI, in its reply to the anticipatory bail plea, had stated that Arora joined the investigation and disclosed certain facts which were vital for the probe and hence, "the CBI has no objection if the anticipatory bail is granted to the applicant by this court."
The CBI also said that Arora was actively involved in the case along with the other co-accused and was instrumental in managing and diverting monetary gratifications collected from certain liquor licensees to various persons involved in the scam.
However, the CBI maintained that “Arora himself was not a beneficiary of the illegal gratifications collected or received in connection with alleged irregularities.
In August, the CBI registered a case in the excise policy scam and issued a lookout circular (LOC) against eight people named as accused in the case.
Among the accused public servants are Sisodia, then excise commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, deputy commissioner Anand Tiwari and assistant commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
The FIR has charged 15 people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The FIR was lodged after Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
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Sisodia was in-charge of the excise department at the relevant period when the policy was formulated and implemented
It was alleged that the Excise policy, which was brought into effect in November last year, was influenced at the formulation stage to benefit certain businessmen, liquor distributors and traders.
Following the registration of the case, the Delhi government withdrew the policy with effect from 31 July 2022.
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(With inputs from PTI)