Excise Policy Case: Arun Pillai Moves To Delhi’s Court Seeking To Retract Statement Given To ED

Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai on Friday moved Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court through an application seeking to retract his statement given to Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Excise Policy case.

The Special Judge MK Nagpal while issuing notice to ED on the plea and listed the matter for March 13, 2023, for the arguments.

Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai is presently in ED remand till March 13, in connection with its ongoing probe in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 in money laundering case.

ED told the court while seeking remand, ED stated that he is a close associate of K Kavita and needs to interrogate him to unearth the money trail and proceed of the crime. Whenever he’s asked about Hawala money, he says nothing, he’s privy of the facts as he was a part of the meeting.

ED further informed the court that we have also issued summons to Butchibabu to confront him. Butchibabu granted bail on Monday by the same court in CBI Case.

Advocate Manu Sharma for Pillai opposed the remand plea of ED and submitted that he have been to ED 39 times. 29 in ED, 10 times in CBI.

As per the facts, he’s not divulging even relevant facts which would be crucial for the investigation. It’s not a case where they are seeking custodial interrogation for confession.

Previously, Pillai was arrested late on Monday night following his day-long questioning by the ED officials in the case. The agency has so far arrested 11 persons in the case.

Pillai’s arrest comes close on the heels of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case.

He is among other accused named in the case along with 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 and Arjun Pandey are some more accused in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate last week arrested liquor businessman Amandeep Dhall in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

ED stated that Dhall, the owner of Brindco Sales Private Limited, was allegedly involved in the conspiracy to formulate and implement an excise policy that extended favours to liquor manufacturers and distributors.

In February, the federal agency had also arrested Rajesh Joshi, owner of Chariot Production Media Pvt Ltd, in the case.

Earlier, the agency arrested Punjab-based businessman Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra, in the case last month too.

The agency last year 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 further said that it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.

Officials said that 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.

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 and arrested him later.

The CBI also filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.

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 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.

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About the Author: Meera Verma