Delhi Liquor Policy Scam: ED Raids 35 Locations Across Delhi, Punjab; Arvind Kejriwal Says 'Dirty Politics'

The liquor scheme came under the scanner after the Delhi LG recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi's Excise Policy 2021-22.

Delhi Liquor Policy Scam: ED Raids 35 Locations Across Delhi, Punjab; Arvind Kejriwal Says 'Dirty Politics'

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday launched fresh raids at 35 locations in Delhi, Punjab and Hyderabad in connection with its money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.

According to ED officials, the searches are being conducted at premises linked to liquor companies, distributors and supply chain networks. These raids were conducted days after the Central agency arrested Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi's Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case.

Meanwhile, amid ongoing raids, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, attacked the centre and termed the raids as "d*irty politics".

"More than 500 raids, since 3 months more than 300 CBI/ED officers are working 24 hours – one to find evidence against Manish Sisodia. Can't find anything. because nothing was done," Mr Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

"Time of so many officers is being wasted for their d*irty politics. How will such country progress?" he added.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted more than 103 raids in this case till now and raided accused in the case including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

The liquor scheme came under the scanner after the Delhi LG recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi's Excise Policy 2021-22.

The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (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.

This case allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, said the FIR, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

(With Agencies Inputs)

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