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Friday, June 9, 2023

Delhi Excise policy scam: CBI names Sisodia in chargesheet, calls him mastermind

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its first supplementary chargesheet filed in the Delhi excise policy case has alleged that former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, was the mastermind of the whole scam.

Sisodia has been charge-sheeted along with liquor businessman Amandeep Singh Dhall, Hyderabad-based CA Butchibabu Gorantla, and a person named Arjun Pandey.

Till now, the CBI has arrested five accused and charge-sheeted 11 accused persons. Earlier, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against Sameer Mahendru, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpelly, Gautam Mutha, Arun Pillai, and excise officials Kuldeep and Narendra Singh.

Sources said that the CBI has alleged in the chargesheet that liquor businessman Amandeep Dhall, the director of Brindco Sales Pvt Ltd, was in criminal conspiracy with the accused Vijay Nair and the South Group for generating cash towards payment of 6 per cent commission out of the enhanced 12 per cent profit margin.

“Investigation has revealed that the implementation of the excise policy was manipulated to facilitate the monopolization and cartelisation of the wholesale and retail liquor trade in Delhi by the accused persons from South India (South Group). It was also learnt that a 6 per cent out of 12 per cent windfall profit margin was provided to Vijay Nair. Thus around Rs 90-100 crores were paid to Nair,” the source said quoting the chargesheet.

Out of this Rs 30 crores was paid through the Hawala channel using Dinesh Arora, the approver in the case.

In pursuance of this conspiracy, the accused persons from the South Group were given shares in the L-1 firm Indospirits and 65 per cent profit amounting to Rs 29.29 crores was transferred to the accused persons of the South Group. The wholesale license was issued to Indospirits by the excise department despite the pendency of complaints of cartelisation and blacklisting against the partners of the firm.

Dhall was in close contact with Nair since March 2021. Dhall was arranging meetings between Nair and officials of the biggest manufacturers like Pernord Ricard India Pvt Ltd and DIAGEO (United Spirits Ltd).

“Dhall also met Abhishek Boinpally, Butchibabu Gorantla and Arun R Pillai, all accused of South Group, at Gauri Apartment along with the accused Vijay Nair. Thus, aforesaid facts and circumstances, clearly revealed that the accused Dhall was in contact with South Group,” the CBI has alleged in the chargesheet.

Dhall was the distributor of DIAGEO in Delhi even prior to the implementation of the excise policy of Delhi for the year 2021-22.

Dinesh Arora who has turned approver told the CBI that during his meeting with Boinpally and Nair at Hotel Kohinoor in Hyderabad on 19 and 20 June 2021, it was decided that Boinpally would send around Rs 30 crores to Nair through him. And this money would be recovered by extracting a 6 per cent commission out of the 12 per cent profit margin of the wholesalers.

The CBI has alleged that Dhall gave additional Credit Notes worth Rs 4.97 crores through Brindco Sales Private Limited, on his own, to different retailers without receiving the same from DIAGEO, Out of the same, additional Credit Notes worth Rs 2.58 crores have been given by Dhall to four companies of South Group, MIs Organomix Ecosystems Pvt. Ltd, Sri Avantika Contractors (I) Ltd, Trident Chemphar Ltd and Magunta Agro Farms Private Limited.

Boinpally used to negotiate for the Credit Notes on behalf of three retailers, Organomix Ecosystems Pvt. Ltd, Avantika Contractors Ltd and Trident Chemphar Ltd, whereas Raghav Magunta Reddy was negotiating for the Credit Notes on behalf of Magunta Agro Farms Private Limited.

“Credit Notes worth Rs 34,55,912 have been given to ACE Finance Company, which was controlling 2 retail zones under New Excise Policy 2021-22. On the direction of Nair, these additional Credit Notes have been given by Dhall. Additionally, Credit Notes worth Rs 4.97 crores were given to ACE Finance Company through Brindco Sales Private Limited against which an equivalent cash amount was transferred from ACE Finance Company to Boinpally through Arora,” the CBI has alleged.

These facts were also confirmed to the CBI by Arora and Virat Mann, who used to look after the matter of Credit Notes of ACE Finance Company.

The CBI had on 19 August 2022, conducted searches at the house of Dhall which led to the recovery of certain incriminating documents related to the excise policy, a copy of the tender document (which he got in advance) and a copy of the confidential note of a former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and another confidential note for the Council of Ministers.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline)

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