A Delhi court on Tuesday sent Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai to ED custody till March 13 and liquor baron Amandeep Dhall to judicial custody till March 21 in a money-laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. Special Judge M K Nagpal sent Pillai to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody after the agency produced him before the court and said his custody was required to unearth the larger conspiracy and find the money trail.
The agency also said Pillai was a close associate of Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K Kavitha and he was required to be confronted with other accused in the case.
Pillai was arrested on Monday night following his day-long questioning by the ED officials in the case.
The other accused, Dhall, the executive director of Brindco Sales Private Limited, was arrested on March 1 under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) following his questioning.
Brindco is a major importer and distributor of a variety of liquor brands and related beverages.
The ED’s money-laundering case stems from the CBI FIR, in which former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is currently in judicial custody till March 20.
According to an FIR lodged by the CBI, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) functionary Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, Dhall and Sameer Mahandru were actively involved in framing and implementing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22.
In its second charge sheet filed in the case, the ED had appended the statement of another accused, Arun Pillai, who claimed that Dhall “had a good grasp of the Delhi liquor market and knew all the minute details of the (excise) policy changes”.
“Aman (Dhall) explained to them how the market will work and how to use the loopholes introduced in the policy to their advantage…,” the ED said.
The excise policy was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor subsequently asked the CBI to probe the alleged irregularities and corruption involving government authorities, bureaucrats and liquor traders, among others.