New Delhi [India]: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided at least 25 locations in the national capital in connection with an ongoing probe into alleged money laundering in the now discontinued Delhi Excise Policy, officials said.
Details in this matter are awaited.
In August, the CBI registered a case to probe an alleged scam in the framing and implementation of the excise policy and issued a Look-Out Circular (LOC) against eight people.
A total of nine people have been named as accused in the case. Except for Manoj Rai, a former vice president of Pernod Ricard, a LOC has been issued against all of them.
On October 7, the Enforcement Directorate carried out searches at nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab in connection with the case, days after it arrested Sameer Mahendru, managing director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor.
ED and CBI have alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy, including undue favours being extended to licence holders, the licence fee being waived or reduced and the L-1 licence being extended without the competent authority’s approval.
The beneficiaries were also alleged to have diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books to evade detection.
As alleged, 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, said the FIR, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
Saxena recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi’s Excise Policy 2021-22.