The searches were carried out as part of the Enforcement Directorate’s probe into the Delhi government’s now-scrapped liquor policy.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia
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The searches were carried out as part of the Enforcement Directorate’s probe into the Delhi government’s now-scrapped liquor policy.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday conducted searches at four places, including the house of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s personal assistant (PA), in connection with a money laundering probe it had launched on the government’s liquor policy.

On Saturday, at 2.17 pm, Sisodia tweeted, “They got my house raided by lodging false FIR, searched bank lockers, also went to my village but found nothing against me. Today, they did not find anything in ED’s raid at my PA’s house, so now they have arrested him and taken him away. BJP people! So much fear of losing the election,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Sources said Sisodia’s PA has been picked up for questioning after conducting a search at his home. “We have conducted a search at his home and picked him up for questioning in connection with destruction of evidence. But we have not made his arrest so far,” sources said.

The ED case, which was registered in September, is based on a CBI FIR filed in August. The CBI had booked Sisodia, three excise department officials, and several vendors and distributors among the 15 accused it had arraigned in its FIR.

The CBI FIR had stated: “Praveen Kumar Rai, Director, MHA… has conveyed directions of the competent authority for enquiry into the matter of irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD of Delhi for the year 2021–22 by Central Bureau of Investigation. He has also forwarded a letter of L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena alleging irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy.”

“The OM is enclosed herewith, which discloses that Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM; Arava Gopi Krishna, then Commissioner (Excise); Anand Tiwari, then Deputy Commissioner (Excise); and Pankaj Bhatnagar, Assistant Commissioner (Excise) were instrumental in recommending and taking decisions pertaining to excise policy for the year 2021–22 without the approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licensee post tender,” it added.

The CBI also said in its FIR citing ‘reliable sources’, who it said have revealed that AAP’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, an ex-employee of Pernod Ricard, the owner of Brindco Spirits Amandeep Dhal, and Indospirit MD Sameer Mahendru are “actively involved in irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy”.

“Source further revealed that some of the L-1 licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-initio intention to divert the funds as an undue pecuniary advantage to public servants. In furtherance to this, they are showing false entries in their books of accounts to keep their record straight. Source further revealed that Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, Gurgaon; 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 licensees to accused public servants,” it added.

“Source further revealed that Sameer Mahendru, MD, Indospirit, has transferred an amount of one crore to the account of Radha Industries. Radha Industries is being managed by Dinesh Arora. Source further revealed that Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant through Vijay Nair.”

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