The CBI on Sunday issued lookout circulars (LoC) against eight people in the Delhi liquor policy case where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is one of the 15 accused named in the FIR.
The LoCs, CBI sources said, have been issued against private individuals named in the FIR which includes liquor license holders, vendors, distributors and alleged middlemen. Agency officials clarified that no LoC has been issued against Sisodia or any excise official named in the FIR.
The sources said that the LoCs have been issued against Vijay nair, CEO of event management company Only Much Louder; Amandeep Dhal, Director of Brindco Sales Pvt Ltd; Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Indospirit Group; Amit Aroa, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd; Dinesh Arora, associated with Radha Industries; Sunny Marwah; authorised signatory of Mahadev Liquors; Arun Ramchandra Pillay, a Karnataka resident accused of moving money; and Arjun Pandey, an alleged middleman.
They added that the agency has also not issued an LoC against Manoj Rai, the former employee of liquor giant Pernod Ricard. Of those against whom LoCs have been issued, Vijay Nair and Dinesh Arora are already said to be abroad. Rai in a public statement yesterday said that he was not absconding and would cooperate with the investigation.
Sources said that LoCs have been issued based on the agency’s assessment of the accused’s flight risk. LoCs are opened to prevent those accused in criminal cases from leaving the country. These are shared with immigration authorities at airports, land border check posts and sea ports to ensure that the accused is prevented from exiting the country and the concerned agency is notified when they arrive at immigration counters.
On Saturday, the agency had questioned some of the accused in the case. Sources said that the others were being called for questioning and documents and electronic devices recovered during the raids on Friday at Sisodia’s residence and premises associated with the accused are being scrutinised.
The premises searched by CBI on Friday included those linked to former Delhi Excise Commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and former Deputy Excise Commissioner Anand Tiwari.
In its FIR, the CBI named 15 people, with Sisodia’s name at the top of the list.
The FIR stated: “Praveen Kumar Rai, Director, MHA… has conveyed directions of competent authority for enquiry into the matter of irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD of Delhi for the year 2021-22 by Central Bureau of Investigation. He has also forwarded a letter of L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena alleging irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy. The OM is enclosed herewith, which discloses that Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM; Arava Gopi Krishna, then Commissioner (Excise); Anand Tiwari, then Deputy Commissioner (Excise); and Pankaj Bhatnagar, Assistant Commissioner (Excise) were instrumental in recommending and taking decisions pertaining to excise policy for the year 2021-22 without approval of competent authority with an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender.”
“Apart from the above, reliable sources have revealed that Vijay Nair, former CEO of Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company; Manoj Rai, ex-employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, owner of Brindco Spirits; and Sameer Mahendru, owner of Indospirit, are actively involved in irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy,” the CBI said in its FIR.
“Source further revealed that some of the L-1 licence holders are issuing credit notes to retail vendors with an ab-initio intention to divert the funds as undue pecuniary advantage to public servants. In furtherance to this, they are showing false entries in their books of accounts to keep their record straight. Source further revealed that Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, Gurgaon; Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey are close associates of Manish Sisodia and are actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees to accused public servants. Source further revealed that Sameer Mahendru, MD, Indospirit, has transferred an amount of one crore to the account of Radha Industries. Radha Industries is being managed by Dinesh Arora. Source further revealed that Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant through Vijay Nair,” it said.
“A person named Arjun Pandey has once collected huge cash amount of about Rs 2-4 crore from Sameer Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair. Source has further informed that Mahadev Liquors, a proprietorship firm, was granted L-1 licence. Sunny Marwah is the authorised signatory of the firm. He is also director in companies/firms being managed by family of Late Ponty Chadha. Source has informed that Sunny Marwah is in close contact with accused public servants and has been regularly giving undue pecuniary advantage to them,” the CBI’s FIR alleged.