Monday, Dec 05, 2022

Delhi Liquor Scam: ED Launches Fresh Raids At 35 Locations Across Delhi, Punjab and Hyderabad

Delhi Liquor Scam: ED Launches Fresh Raids At 35 Locations Across Delhi, Punjab and Hyderabad

The raids came within a few days of the arrest of Delhi-based liquor baron Sameer Mahendru who was booked under Money Laundering Act.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal PTI

Pushing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) further towards political crisis, just months ahead of the probable MCD polls, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today launched fresh raids across 35 locations in Delhi, Punjab and Hyderabad in connection with its money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.

The searches are mostly conducted in the premises of big liquor companies, distributors and other supply networks. As per the reports, agency teams were found leaving their headquarters in the early morning.

The big arrests made by ED and CBI in Delhi Excise Policy case

Today’s raids are being conducted days after the arrests of Delhi-based liquor baron Sameer Mahendru who was taken into custody under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The businessman, as per the CBI FIR, filed following the order from the Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, gave around 2-4 crores to Arjun Pandey, allegedly a close aid of another accused and the deputy CM Manish Sisodia. Pandey reportedly took the money on behalf of Vijay Nair, the communication strategist of AAP who got arrested by CBI a day before Mahendru’s arrest.

Nair who was also leading the political campaign strategies of the AAP in poll-bound Gujarat, was yesterday sent to a 14 days’ Judicial custody by a special court. The allegations against Nair along with other accused in the FIRs are related to their engagement in the constitution of the liquor policy that the complaint indicates was intended to give undue benefits to some liquor barons at the cost of public exchequer.

Till now, the ED has already conducted 103 raids pertaining to this case.

Kejriwal’s Reaction: Its ‘Dirty’ Politics

Expressing his discontent over the consecutive raids by ED and CBI, the Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “More than 500 raids for 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.”

Referring to the waste of time of the officers who could be utilised for the progress of the country the Delhi CM added, “Time of so many officers is being wasted for their dirty politics. How will such a country progress?”

It was only yesterday taking a sarcastic jibe at the Delhi LG for his continuous letters and notices to the AAP government, Kejriwal tweeted that he didn’t receive so many love letters in his life time from his wife. Kejriwal was referring to the letter his government received from LG office for his absence in Rajghat and Vijay Ghat on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. President Draupudi Murmu was present on the occasion to pay tribute to the father of the Nation.

The political mudslinging over the Delhi excise policy is further brewing, the political observers think, due to early signs of AAP’s good performances in the state of Gujarat. AAP this time is going to try its fate both in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. In this condition, the continuous salvos of corruption against the party and its administrators may harm their prospects.

The Delhi Government implemented the now scrapped liquor excise policy in last year November saying that it was intended to remove the “malpractices” and to cater better experiences to those buying alcohol. The policy was about to provide retail licenses to 849 private bidders.