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Delhi excise policy case: Court extends businessman Dinesh Arora ED remand by 6 days

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New Delhi [India]: The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi on Tuesday extended the ED remand of businessman Dinesh Arora in connection with its ongoing probe in the Delhi excise policy case. Arora was represented in the court today at the end of his remand period by the Enforcement Directorate.

The Special Judge MK Nagpal on Tuesday allowed ED’s remand application and granted six further days remand of Arora to ED. While seeking further remand, ED counsels submitted that during the ED custody, he has been confronted with certain persons and documents involved in relation to payment transfer of cash and proceeds of crime.

ED further stated that he has also revealed some crucial facts and names of individuals receiving proceeds of crime but on the basis of the information provided by the accused some searches are being carried out in Delhi and NCR which will lead to recovery of incriminating material.

ED said, three more persons stand already summoned to join the investigation including one person whose premises are being searched today and they are expected to join the investigation in a day or two and the accused is also to be confronted with the persons and to find the destination of the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 2 crore
Arora has been declared an approver in the same case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“I have not seen the grounds of arrest. Please see the background. It is a peculiar case. Before pardon was given on November 16, 2022, ED had called him in September,” Vikas Pahwa, senior counsel, appearing for Dinesh Arora submitted.

“His statements are being relied upon by the ED in various Prosecution Complaints. This court while rejecting bail, has ‘relied on his statement’,” the counsel submitted.
According to ED, considered close to jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, Arora is the 13th person arrested so far in the case by the Enforcement Directorate. Last year, a city court allowed the CBI’s request to make Arora an approver in the case.

ED has so far filed five charge sheets in the case, including against Sisodia.

ED, last year filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken over 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.

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 too filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.

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

As per the allegations, 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.

This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

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