New Delhi, February 2
A part of the alleged Rs 100 crore “kickbacks” generated in the scrapped Delhi excise policy was used in the AAP campaign in the 2022 Goa assembly election, the ED has claimed in its second charge sheet in the case in which Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is an accused.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the cases filed by the agency were “fake” and aimed to “topple” governments or form them.
In its charge sheet filed in a special court on January 6, the federal probe agency also alleged that Sisodia was among those who were using mobile phones “purchased in the name of another person” to hide their tracks.
“There are instances wherein accused/suspects have used SIM card issued in the name of other persons and phones purchased in the name of other persons so that when they get caught they may take this excuse that either the SIM card is not in their name or that the phones were not purchased by them and belong to other persons,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said in the charge sheet.
A Delhi court took cognisance of the prosecution complaint on Thursday and summoned the accused on February 23.
The ED named a total of 17 individuals and companies in this supplementary charge sheet including AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair (39), promoter of liquor company Indospirit Sameer Mahandru, director of liquor company Buddy Retail Pvt Limited Amit Arora (45), general manager of leading French wine company Pernod Ricard Benoy Babu (44), whole-time director and promoter of Aurobindo Pharma P Sarath Chandra Reddy (37) and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally (36). All are in judicial custody at present.
A DANICS officer who had served as Sisodia’s secretary stated that it was the first time that he saw these proposals in the draft GoM report (i.e. document handed over to him) and he was directed to prepare the report on the basis of the said document, the charge sheet claimed.
It also claimed that a close aide of the Delhi chief minister “arranged a video call through facetime (a video calling facility on iPhone) on his phone for Sameer (Mahandru) and Arvind Kejriwal, where Arvind said to Sameer that the aide is ‘his boy’ and that Sameer should trust him and carry on with him.”
These facts, the ED said, are “relevant to mention so as to establish the abatement of his actions in relation to the excise policy scam, by the political leaders of the AAP.”
The Delhi chief minister rubbished the contents of the ED charge sheet, saying it has “filed 5,000 charge sheets under the tenure of the current government”.
“How many people have been sentenced? All the cases filed by ED are fake and they are used to topple governments or form them. ED does not file cases to eradicate corruption. They do it to buy MLAs, topple governments. There is a question on the ED charge sheet,” Kejriwal said.
A close aide of Kejriwal (arrested in the case) received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore from a group, on behalf of AAP leaders, the ED alleged.
“Investigation of the trail of this kickback so far has revealed that part of these funds was used in the election campaign of the AAP for Goa assembly elections 2022. Cash payments to the tune of Rs 70 lakh were made to the volunteers who were part of the survey teams,” the ED said.
The charge sheet added that the close aide “himself has told certain persons involved in the campaign related work to receive the payments in cash”.
“Advertisement/hoarding related work were directed to raise only part of the claims in the bill and receive the remaining in cash. These part cash payments were managed through hawala channels” by team led by the close aide of Kejriwal,” the ED alleged.
Against these kickbacks, the ED alleged, the “South Group” “secured uninhibited access, undue favours, attained stakes in established wholesales businesses and multiple retail zones (over and above that was allowed in the policy).”
The agency also claimed in the charge sheet that the DANICS officer, who was earlier secretary to Sisodia, recorded his statement with the ED saying he was given the GoM (group of ministers) report on the excise policy in the middle of March 2021 when he was called by his boss to the residence of Kejriwal.
“The conspiracy of the GoM to give wholesale business to private entities and fix 12 per cent margin (to get 6 per cent kickback out from the same) is clear from the statement” of the DANICS officer where he allegedly disclosed that there was neither any discussion in the GoM meetings about giving wholesale to private entities not fixing 12 per cent profit margin to them.”
The excise policy 2021-22 was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor later asked the CBI to probe alleged irregularities in the matter.
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