Delhi Excise case: ED files 3rd chargesheet; names of Sisodia, Kavitha left out
The special court at Rouse Avenue Court will hear the matter on April 14 for cognizance.
NEW DELHI: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) filed its second supplementary Prosecution Complaint, the agency's equivalent of a charge sheet on Thursday in the Delhi excise policy case.
The case relates to kickback money. The money that originated out of the policy that favoured ‘liquor lobbies’ was allegedly laundered by various middlemen to bribe government officials and politicians, particularly from the AAP.
Former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and BRS leader K Kavitha have not been named.
The charge sheet which runs into about 250 pages was filed at the court of Special Judge Vikas Dhull at the Rouse Avenue court premises has named Raghav Magunta, son of YSR Congress MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Gautam Malhotra and Rajesh Joshi. Five private companies have also been named.
The ED informed the court that Malhotra was arrested on February 7, Joshi on February 8 and Magunta on February 10. The special court at Rouse Avenue Court will hear the matter on April 14 for cognizance. With this, the total number of accused charge-sheeted by ED so far goes up to 25 including 10 individuals and 15 private entities.
This is the third chargesheet (second supplementary) to be filed after the ED had filed the second one on January 6 at the special PMLA court.
According to ED, Raghav is the owner of the Balaji Group and has been one of the key associates of the South Group liquor lobby which benefited from the tweaked Delhi Excise policy that caused huge losses to the Delhi Government. The South lobby had generated Rs 100 crore of kickback which was received by another accused Vijay Nair on behalf of the AAP.
Rajesh Joshi and Gautam Malhotra were arrested for their alleged involvement in the laundering of the kickbacks generated in the Delhi Excise scam. Joshi, the owner of Chariot Productions Media firm that also handled campaigns for AAP, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly laundering the kickback money received from a Delhi liquor scam. Joshi used the liquor kickback to fund AAP’s elections campaign in Goa, the CBI alleged. Joshi is currently being interrogated by the agency in custody.
Gautam Malhotra, a Punjab-based businessman and son of a former SAD MLA Deepak Malhotra, was also arrested on Tuesday night in connection with the money laundering investigation. The ED alleged that he was a close aide of F&B business entrepreneurs and an accused turned approver in the excise case, Dinesh Arora. Gautam associated with the Oasis group was remanded in ED custody for interrogation till February 15 for further investigations.
In between the second and the third chargesheet, the ED arrested several accused in the case including Sisodia and Arun Pillai, the Hyderabad-based businessman and the alleged face of the South Group – the consortium of liquor traders that benefited from the tweaks made in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. Sisodia was arrested as he was not cooperating with the investigations and was withholding information and material import for the investigation.
The ED also questioned Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana CM, several times for her alleged role in the scam. According to the agency, Kavitha was a key associate of the South Group. Although Kavitha challenged the ED move of issuing her summons at the Supreme Court of India, the Apex Court denied her any relief. Kavitha appeared before the ED and also submitted all the phones she had used during the relevant period of time as desired by the ED.
Kavitha appeared for the third and last time so far on March 21 and submitted a letter along with 10 phones stating that “in continuance and furtherance of my repeated appearances before you and rendering all due assistance and cooperation and despite the actions of the agency being ex-facie malafide I am today submitting before your good self all the earlier phones that I may have used in the past and as sought by you which I could gather.”
ED which had been recording statements of Kavitha since March 11 was to question her further on a statement made by various accused of her being a key member of the South Group of liquor traders which allegedly paid an advance of Rs 100 crore to secure favourable tweaks in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 which was approved and implemented by ex-deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who was also the Excise Minister.
In the second chargesheet filed in January, the ED for the first time had mentioned the name of Arvind Kejriwal, stating that the CM on a video call with accused number one Sameer Mahendru had claimed that another accused Vijay Nair the media manager of AAP was his trusted man. Kejriwal, ED claimed, told Mahendru that Nair was his (Kejriwal’s) boy and that he (Sameer) should trust him and should go ahead with the discussion pertaining to the Delhi excise policy 2021-22, which was at a stage of formulation.
The second prosecution complaint (chargesheet) which runs into more than 13 thousand pages, including a complaint of 428 pages supported by voluminous documents, statements and lists of witnesses had named 12 accused including five persons– Sharath C Reddy, Binoy Babu, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and Amit Arora who are already in Judicial custody. Seven private entities, primarily in the liquor trade have also been mentioned as accused in the chargesheet.
The first chargesheet was filed by the ED in November last week naming only Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Indo Spirit. In the chargesheet, the ED alleged that while irregularities in the Delhi liquor policy scam caused the government a loss of Rs 2,873 crore, the accused gained a profit of Rs 295 crore.