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Excise policy case: Delhi Court extends ED remand of Buddy Retail director Amit Arora by 7 days

ANI | Updated: Dec 07, 2022 19:05 IST


New Delhi [India], December 7 (ANI): The Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday extended the ED remand of Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd, by seven more days in connection with the alleged Delhi Excise Policy scam money laundering case.
The Special Judge/ Link Judge Vikas Dhull send Amit Arora to ED remand till December 14, 2022. He was produced before the court after the end of his remand period granted earlier.
Earlier, while seeking remand, ED's special public Prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta had submitted that large-scale destruction of digital evidence was done by the accused to derail the investigation. He is the manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler. He had one license of L1 (Wholesale) and two additional licenses.
ED told the court that, on the basis of the investigation conducted so far indicating that Amit Arora is actually involved in the activity connected to the acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime and therefore, Amit Arora is guilty of the offence of money laundering.
Further, he has not cooperated in the investigation by withholding information which is in his exclusive knowledge and extremely relevant to the investigation.
ED while seeking remand also submitted that, huge digital/physical records have been seized during 171 search operations conducted to date by this Directorate under Section 17 of PMLA, 2002. The same needs to be confronted with the arrestee Amit Arora.
He further needs to be interrogated with respect to other associates/entities involved in the cartelization and kickbacks to the public servants.
"The defence lawyer opposed the ED's remand application and said he has joined the probe 22 times. Why do they need police remand? They have questioned me 22 times. Nothing is left to ask," said the lawyer.
"I have been called at 5 pm and I have joined at 6 pm a lot of times. I have not done anything with the phones. The CBI took my phone during the investigation, and Amit Arora submits personally on the last date of the hearing. My company's name is not even there. My market share is 0.001%. My company is not there of the major stakeholders," said Amit Arora.

Arora's name is mentioned in both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation cases as accused along with Dinesh Arora, another director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd. Other accused named are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey are some more accused in the case.
The agency's move comes days after the agency filed its first chargesheet before a court in the national capital in the Delhi excise policy money laundering case naming liquor businessman Sameer Mahandru as one of the accused.
The agency said it has so far undertaken 169 search operations in this case, filed after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR 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.
A total of five people have been arrested by the ED in this case till now, excluding Arora. Mahandru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 27 following his questioning.
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.
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 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. (ANI)

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