Key accused in Delhi excise scam wants to retract statements made to ED

Pillai moved the application before a special PMLA court at Rouse Avenue seeking to retract from a couple of statements he made last year when he appeared before the ED.

Published: 11th March 2023 11:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2023 05:00 PM   |  A+A-

Arun Pillai

Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: One of the key accused in the Delhi Excise scam Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Hyderabad-based businessman recently arrested by ED,  moved an application on Friday seeking to retract from the  statements submitted before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in the Delhi excise policy case.

Pillai moved the application before a special PMLA court at Rouse Avenue seeking to retract from a couple of statements he made last year, when he appeared before the ED following summons for deposition issued by the agency.

The special court following Pillai's application has issued notice to the ED to file a reply by March 13 when the matter will be taken up for hearing.

Pillai was arrested and produced before the PMLA court on Tuesday as he was allegedly not cooperating with the agency during the last questioning session for which he was called to Delhi. The special court remanded him in ED custody till March 13 and he is currently being interrogated in custodial remand.

Pillai during the course of investigations has appeared more than 10 times before the ED to get his depositions recorded. But according to the application, statements made during two of his visits around November last year were recorded under coercion. Pillai was summoned and questioned by ED in the matter more than 10 times between October and now before he was arrested early this week.

The moves comes at a time when Delhi Ex-Chief minister Manish Sisodia has been taken in ED remand and BRS leader K Kavitha, also the daughter of Telangana chief minister KC Rao, has been summoned by ED for questioning on Saturday, March 11. According to the ED all three are involved in tweaking the Delhi Excise policy which was designed to benefit certain liquor traders.

According to ED  Pillai was allegedly involved in the tweaking of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 at the formulation stage and being one of the beneficiaries of kickback money which he laundered subsequently.  He was the 32.5 per cent owner of a front in which Kavitha had a substantial stake. He was the representative of the 'South Group' of liquor traders and was a direct beneficiary of the kickback money and was also involved in laundering it.

The group had allegedly paid an advance of Rs 100 crore to AAP though Vijay Nair, a close associate of the party, to get the policy designed in a manner to get them windfall gains. Pillai had allegedly facilitated the process, the ED alleged.

The liquor traders of the South Group include prominent persons and politicians including Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta, Sharath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma and Kavitha herself.

Pillai, ED alleged, received the kickback money amounting to several crores. The ED in January has already attached several movable and immovable properties of Pillai and his wife in Hyderabad and other places worth Rs. 5.72 crore as part of its action to recover the government money which was allegedly generated as kickback and laundered in the Delhi Excise scam.

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