AAP MP Raghav Chadha named in ED supplementary chargesheet in Delhi excise policy case

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NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha MP of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Raghav Chadha’s name has been mentioned in the Enforcement Directorate’s supplementary chargesheet in the case pertaining to the Delhi liquor excise policy case.

Chadha, meanwhile, said that he has not been made an accused or a suspect in any complaint by the central agency. “I have not been named as an accused or even a suspect in any of the complaints filed by ED. There are no allegations whatsoever against me in the said complaints. It appears that in the complaint my name is mentioned as an attendee to some meeting, though the basis of making such an allegation is not clear”, Raghav Chadha said.

According to the chargesheet filed by ED, C Arvind, the then Secretary of Manish Sisodia, in his statement, stated that Raghav Chadha was also present in a meeting held at the residence of Manish Sisodia, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi.

“Arvind’s statement said in the meeting, held at former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence, in which Raghav Chadha, ACS Finance of Punjab government, Excise Commissioner, Varun Roojam, FCT and officers from Punjab Excise, and Vijay Nair was also present”, the chargesheet said.

In its prosecution complaint, the ED further stated that Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, presently in judicial custody, has given false statements under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 during the investigation.

“Arun Pillai has actively participated in evidence destruction and has changed/used/destroyed five mobile phones in the span of two years. He has not produced the phones used during the period of the scam. The chats with Arun Pillai recovered from other persons’ phones have not been found from his phones which were seized during the search which is because Arun Pillai has been indulged in the destruction of evidence”, the chargesheet said.

Arun Pillai has attempted to create a legal facade by allegedly filing a retraction of all his statements during the period of investigation given U/s 50 of PMLA. This act of Arun Pillai is only to create a legal facade and is motivated to derail the investigation.

The prosecution complaint further added that in September 2021, there was a meeting in Taj Mansingh. “A few days before this dinner, Pernod had confirmed to Indo Spirits. So, this dinner was to acknowledge this wholesale distribution relationship which was established. Sarath and Raghav Magunta were also congratulated for winning retail zones in Delhi”, the complaint added.

According to the prosecution complaint, Sameer Mahendu had met K Kavitha in early 2022 in Hyderabad at her house. “In this meeting, Sameer, Sarath, Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally and Kavitha and her husband Anil were present. Kavitha told Sameer during the meeting that Arun is like family to her and that they will take this relationship to a larger scale in multiple states and expand majorly. Kavitha asked about the issues that Indo Spirits LI was facing in the first few months of operations and Sameer briefed her about those”, the complaint read.

Sameer told Kavitha that Vijay was an important person in AAP and managed the excise policy issues in Delhi. Vijay had told him that the new excise policy was a brainchild of Arvind Kejriwal, added the complaint. “To verify the credibility, clout and influence of Vijay Nair, Sameer asked him to make him meet Arvind Kejriwal, so Vijay fixed a meeting with him twice, but did not work out. So, Vijay made Sameer speak to Arvind Kejriwal on a Facetime call”, reads the complaint.

The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi on Monday took cognizance of two prosecution complaints filed by the Enforcement Directorate in money laundering related to the alleged Liquor excise policy scam. The prosecution complaints were recently against Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Rajesh Joshi, Amandeep Dhal, Gautam Malhotra, Raghav Magunta and related entities. The Special Judge M K Nagpal on Monday took cognizance of the chargesheets (Prosecution Complaints) and directed to produce all naming accused on May 10, 2023.

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 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.

The FIR in the case was instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)

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