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Delhi Excise Policy Case: ED Arrests Manish Sisodia After Questioning At Tihar Jail

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the liquor policy case, after hours of questioning at Tihar Jail.

The ED began questioning the senior AAP leader and one of the party’s founding members, days after it recorded his statement on Tuesday.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI in the liquor policy case on February 26 and was sent to 14-day judicial custody on March 6.

The ED also made another arrest in the case earlier, as it took Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai into its custody.

The ED, on Thursday, summoned Bharatiya Rashtriya Samiti (BRS) MLC and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha for questioning in the liquor policy case.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI earlier in its ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD). Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court sent him to Judicial Custody till March 20.

ED, last year, filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has, so far, undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after an FIR was filed, taking cognisance of the CBI case registered on the recommendation of Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.

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.

In October, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, managing director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case and arrested him later.

The CBI filed its first charge sheet in the case earlier.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, and undue favours extended to licence holders. It was further alleged that 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.

Further, it was alleged that 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 fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to Covid-19, it was alleged further.

This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, the agencies claimed.

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