The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday raided multiple locations spread across Delhi and five states as part of a money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and a few officials have been named as accused in the alleged scam.
Around 30 premises in Delhi, Telangana, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are being searched, the officials said.
The CBI had conducted raids in the case on August 19, covering the residences of Sisodia (50), IAS officer and former Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, and 19 other locations across seven states and Union Territories.
The scheme came under the scanner after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi's Excise Policy 2021-22. He had also suspended 11 excise officials in the matter. Sisodia too demanded a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the policy. The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009 and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials said.
According to officials, the chief secretary's report had shown prima facie violations, including "deliberate and gross procedural lapses", to provide post-tender "undue benefits to liquor licensees" through the policy. It is alleged that undue financial favours were extended to liquor licensees after the tenders were awarded, causing loss to the exchequer. The excise department gave a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore to the licensees on the tendered licence fee on the excuse of COVID-19, sources claimed. They added that it also refunded the earnest money of Rs 30 crore to the lowest bidder for the licence of the airport zone when it failed to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from airport authorities. "It was in gross violation of rule 48(11)(b) of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, which clearly stipulates that the successful bidder must complete all formalities for the grant of the licence, failing which all deposits made by him shall stand forfeited to the government," a source said.
With inputs from PTI