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Kejriwal was ‘kingpin’ in excise policy case, claims ED in chargesheet | Delhi News

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was the “kingpin” and “key conspirator” in hatching the now-scrapped excise policy in collusion with other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders who demanded kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange for giving them favours, claims the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet naming the CM and the AAP as an accused.

“…Arvind Kejriwal is knowingly involved in the use of proceeds of crime thus generated in the Goa election campaign of the AAP to which he is the convener and the ultimate decision-maker,” alleged the central agency. The ED added that Rs 45 crore was used for the AAP’s Goa Assembly election campaign in 2021-2022 from the proceeds of crime which were bribes collected from the “South Group”.

The ED earlier alleged that the now-scrapped excise policy was drafted “considering the favours to be granted to the ‘South Group’”.

As per the agency, the ‘South Group’ “secured uninhibited access, undue favours, attained stakes in established wholesale businesses, and multiple retail zones (over and above what was allowed in the policy)”, and paid Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders in return.

The order by Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court accessed by The Indian Express, in which cognizance of the chargesheet was taken on Tuesday mentioned that bribes worth 45 crore were handled by Chanpreet Singh, another accused, and an AAP worker. The agency alleged that Chanpreet was involved in multiple transactions with the AAP directly through banking channels as revealed by AAP Rajya Sabha MP and national treasurer for the party ND Gupta.

Festive offer

The agency further alleged that proceeds of crime, to the tune of Rs 25.5 crore, were transferred by Vinod Chauhan and given to Chanpreet who then utilised them in the AAP’s Goa assembly election campaign.

Both Chauhan and Singh are also accused in the money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam. Chauhan, along with his associate Ashish Mathur, are named in the eighth supplementary chargesheet filed by the ED.

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It was also alleged that the Chief Minister had a role in “arm-twisting wholesalers for not paying kickbacks”.

“…when certain wholesalers were not agreeing to give kickbacks to the AAP in Delhi their businesses were targeted in Punjab through the officials of Punjab. M/s Mahadev Liquor, the third biggest wholesaler in Delhi which has stakes in Ms Deepa Chaddha, was not paying kickbacks. Vijay Nair — by using the excise officials in Punjab – arm-twisted her by closing down on a false pretext her liquor factories in Punjab and then made her surrender the license of Mahadev Liquor and then redistributed the business to their select wholesalers,” alleged the prosecution complaint.

Vijay Nair, former communications in charge of the AAP, was termed a “very close associate of the CM”. He was allegedly the middleman between the ‘South Group’ and the AAP.

Various statements of co-accused and approvers were also relied upon by the ED, said officials. TDP MP Magunta S Reddy, whose son Raghav Magunta turned an approver in the case, had said in a statement that BRS legislator K Kavitha had approached him to do liquor business in Delhi and had demanded 50 crores from him to give to the AAP.

Similarly, in two statements, Raghav Magunta said that he paid Rs 25 crore to Abhishek Boinpally (a member of the alleged South Group) and Buchi Babu (Kavitha’s PA), as per the agreement between him, Kavitha, and his father. This statement was also relied upon by the agency.

The statement by Hyderabad-based businessman P Sarath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, who had also turned an approver in the case, where he said that he met Kejriwal in Delhi for a “brief meeting” of 10 minutes was also relied upon. “In this meeting, Kejriwal told me to trust his guy Vijay (Nair) and that he was very smart and would figure out small or big issues if any arise. He spoke about the new policy which had come and that it will be a win-win for all,” Reddy stated. He had given the statement after allegations had emerged against him during the investigation.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in the money laundering case. He was granted interim bail until June 1 by the Supreme Court for poll campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections after which he surrendered before Tihar Jail.

On June 20, he was granted bail by Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court. But the ED then challenged the bail in the High Court. The High Court stayed the trial court order granting bail to Kejriwal. On June 26, the Chief Minister was formally arrested by the CBI in a corruption case linked to the excise policy. He is currently in judicial custody in both the corruption and money laundering cases.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 10-07-2024 at 18:35 IST

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