New Delhi, February 8
The Enforcement Directorate has arrested Punjab-based businessman Gautam Malhotra, the son of former SAD MLA and liquor baron Deep Malhotra, in connection with its money laundering investigation linked to alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy, officials said Wednesday.
Malhotra, promoter of the Oasis group of Punjab, was taken into custody under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Official sources alleged he was “evasive” in his replies and his role with regard to the charges of cartelisation vis-a-vis the excise policy formulated by the Delhi government is under the radar of the agency.
The businessman will be produced before a Delhi court where the ED will seek his custody.
Malhotra’s liquor manufacturing and distribution business is spread across Punjab and some other regions like Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, officials said. The federal probe agency had raided premises linked to Malhotra’s group last year in Punjab’s Faridkot and some other locations.
The excise policy 2021-22 was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor later asked the CBI to probe the alleged irregularities.
The ED’s money laundering probe stems from the CBI FIR.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and some excise officials were named as accused in the CBI and the ED complaints.
The ED, till now, has filed two charge sheets or prosecution complaints in this case and has arrested a total of seven people, including Malhotra.
The CBI also arrested a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant (CA), understood to be the auditor of BRS MLC K Kavitha, in connection with the Delhi excise policy case on Tuesday evening, officials said.
The ED has alleged in a charge sheet submitted to the court that a part of the alleged Rs 100 crore “kickbacks” generated in the scrapped Delhi excise policy was “used” in the 2022 Goa assembly election campaign of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.
“Investigation by ED found that acts of corruption and conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 led to the loss of at least Rs 2,873 crore to the government exchequer.” “Proceeds of crime generated...to the tune of Rs 76.54 crore have been traced so far and have been attached,” the agency earlier said.
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