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Delhi Excise Policy Case: ED Arrests Businessman Dinesh Arora On Money Laundering Charge

New Delhi [India]: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested businessman Dinesh Arora in connection with its ongoing probe in Delhi excise policy case, sources said.

Arora has been declared an approver in the same case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Considered close to jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, Arora is the 13th person to be arrested, so far, in the case by the the Enforcement Directorate. Last year, a city court had allowed the CBI’s request to make Arora an approver in the case.

The ED has, so far, filed five charge sheets in the case, including against the former Delhi deputy chief minister.

In 2022, the ED had 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 and 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 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 connection with the case and arrested him later.

The CBI, too, filed its first chargesheet 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.

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 the Covid-19 pandemic.

This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer.
The probe was conducted on the reference of the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.



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