Delhi excise case: ED arrests Hyderabad businessman who 'represented south group'; claims he channelised kickbacks

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 07-03-2023 18:39 IST | Created: 07-03-2023 18:39 IST
Delhi excise case: ED arrests Hyderabad businessman who 'represented south group'; claims he channelised kickbacks
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The ED has arrested Arun Ramchandran Pillai in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case, claiming that the Hyderabad businessman ''connived'' to channelise kickbacks of Rs 100 crore from the ''south group'' to the AAP in Delhi.

Pillai was arrested by the ED on Monday night and was produced before a local court on Tuesday that sent him to the federal investigation agency's custody till March 13. He is the eleventh person to be taken into custody in the case. The businessman was stated to be a partner in a company called Robin Distilleries LLP and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said that he ''represented the south group'', an alleged liquor cartel linked to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's MLC daughter K Kavitha and others. He is also linked to arrested liquor businessman Sameer Mahandru, his wife Geetika Mahandru and their company Indospirit Group.

The ED has questioned him at least 11 times since September last year but arrested him on Monday, claiming he was ''evasive and not cooperating'' in the probe.

The agency alleged that Pillai was ''one of the key persons of entire Delhi excise scam involving payments of huge kickbacks and formation of the biggest cartel of the south group.'' While seeking Pillai's remand, the ED told the court that the ''south group'' had ''comprised'' Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from Ongole Lok Sabha seat), K Kavitha (daughter of Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao) and others.

''The south group was being represented by Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally (arrested in the case earlier) and Butchi Babu (a chartered accountant linked to Kavitha and arrested by the CBI in this case),'' the ED said.

Pillai, the agency alleged, along with his associates ''was coordinating with various persons to execute the political understanding between the south group and the leaders of the AAP''. He has been ''accomplice and was involved in the kickbacks from the south group and the recoupment of the same from the businesses in Delhi'', it said.

It also alleged that Pillai along with another person called Prem Rahul represented ''the benami investments'' of Kavitha and Magunta Reddy and his son Raghav Magunta respectively.

Pillai, it told the court, along with his associates like Boinpally and Babu on behalf of the ''south group orchestrated the whole scheme of forming a cartel of the manufacturers, wholesalers and retail which controlled more than 30 per cent of the whole liquor business in Delhi''.

The ED alleged that Pillai has ''siphoned off Rs 32.8 crore so far'' in the excise case and about Rs 25.5 crore was ''directly transferred'' in his bank account.

The agency, in January, had attached Rs 5.72 crore worth assets of Pillai and his wife.

Pillai ''conspired with other persons and actively connived in cartel formation and was an accomplice in the kickbacks from the south group to the tune of Rs 100 crore to the AAP, and by such acts, proceeds of crime of at least 296.2 crore has been generated'', the ED alleged.

It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers, who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP. The policy was later scrapped and the Delhi LG recommended a CBI probe following which the ED booked a case against the same accused under the PMLA.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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