Delhi liquor scam: CBI names 3 Hyderabadis in chargesheet, Manish Sisodia's name missing

The chargesheet has named three Hyderabadis— Boinpally Abhishek Rao, Arun Ramachandra Pillai, and M. Gautham, the MD of Andhra Prabha and India Ahead channel. The others named in the chargesheet are Vijay Nair and Sameer Mahendru, businessmen, and two then deputy commissioners of Delhi Excise department, Kuldeeo Singh and Narender Singh.

By Coreena Suares  Published on  25 Nov 2022 11:00 AM GMT
Delhi liquor scam: CBI names 3 Hyderabadis in chargesheet, Manish Sisodias name missing

Hyderabad: After months of raids and booking cases, the sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first chargesheet in the Delhi liquor policy scam on 25 November.

The first chargesheet has named seven accused, including two government officials. However, what has surprised many is that it does not name AAP minister Manish Sisodia around whom the entire scam revolved.

The chargesheet has named three Hyderabadis— Boinpally Abhishek Rao, Arun Ramachandra Pillai, and M. Gautham, the MD of Andhra Prabha and India Ahead channel. The others named in the chargesheet are Vijay Nair and Sameer Mahendru, businessmen, and two then deputy commissioners of Delhi Excise department, Kuldeeo Singh and Narender Singh.

"The seven members have been booked under section 120(b) of the IPC read with sections 7 A and 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Further investigation is on. The seven are booked for conspiracy, cartelization, and larger conspiracy in the implementation and formulation of Excise policy of the government of Delhi," a CBI spokesperson told NewsMeter.

What is the Delhi Liquor policy scam:

CBI registered a case on the 17th August, against Deputy Chief Minister, GNCTD of Delhi Manish Sisodia and others including then Commissioner (Excise), then Deputy Commissioner (Excise), related to alleged irregularities in framing & implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD, Delhi.

It was further alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licencees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc. It was also alleged that Illegal gains on count of these acts were diverted to concerned public servants by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts.

Searches were earlier conducted at premises of the accused in various locations which led to recovery of incriminating documents/articles, digital records etc.

Hyderabad connection to this scam

When the CBI booked 17 members, including top government officials of the Delhi Excise department, the name of Arun Ramachandra Pillai, a resident of Kondapur, surfaced in the FIR.

Arun's name figuring in the FIR opened a can of worms. The CBI began a rigorous investigation and carried out multiple searches in Hyderabad. The next to be hunted down was Boinpally Abhishek Rao.

Abhishek Rao is a confidant of a top TRS leader and a business partner of another co-accused in the Delhi liquor policy scam, Arun Ramachandra Pillai.

Abhishek and Arun are co-directors of Robin Distribution LLP Company which was incorporated in July 2022. Investigation revealed that it was a ghost company that existed only on paper.

Arun, a resident of Kokapet in Hyderabad, is among the 17 booked by the CBI. He reportedly was a courier who used to collect "undue pecuniary advantage" (money) from Sameer Mahendru (co-accused) of Indo Spirit and give it to the accused public servant through Vijay Nair.

Abhishek (the son of one of the sisters of Anoos Beauty Parlour) was lobbying for several liquor barons. "Abhishek was questioned for his association with Sameer Mahendru. CBI's probe found that Abhishek Rao was acting as a south lobby and committed irregularities through cartelisation. He accepted Rs. 3.85 crores from Sameer. In his defence, he cited it as a loan," sources told NewsMeter.

Investigation revealed that Abhishek had collected Rs. 3.85 crores from co-accused Sameer Mahendru to pay a "commission" to the government officials. The money was supposed to be routed through his ghost company Robin Distribution.

Vijay Nair is the former CEO of Only Much Louder and Sameer Mahendru is the managing director of Indospirit Group, Delhi. Sameer Mahendru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate.

Who is Goutham Mootha? How is he linked to the Delhi liquor scam?

It began with the Enforcement Directorate summoning Goutham Mootha, the managing director of the reputed Telugu daily 'Andhra Prabha' newspaper and English news channel 'India Ahead'. Goutham Mootha was questioned for "crime of proceeds" linked to Zeus Networking Private limited.

Zeus Networking Private Limited, a company based in Hyderabad and Delhi, is engaged in the maintenance of IT firms' websites and creating multimedia presentations for other firms, etc.

Here comes the connection—Zeus Networking Private Limited has two directors, Goutam Mootha and Boinpally Abhishek Rao. The probe found the "crime of proceeds" which is linked to Zeus Networking Private limited, sources in the investigating agency told NewsMeter.

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