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New Delhi, October 7 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday carried out searches at nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 case.

The 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.

Among the accused in the case are Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

Other accused are Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; director of Buddy Retail Amit Arora, and Dinesh Arora; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey.

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 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. (ANI)

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