The ED has arrested two private company executives in the money laundering investigation being conducted by it into the now scrapped Delhi excise policy case, official sources said Thursday.
Benoy Babu of liquor company Pernod Ricard and Sharath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma have been arrested late Wednesday night under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.
Officials claimed they were ”evasive” during the questioning.
The two will be produced before a special PMLA court in Delhi on Thursday where the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will seek their further custody.
The two were allegedly involved in the formulation of the Delhi excise policy along with government officials and also had a role in the ”cartelisation” of the entire network, the sources said.
The ED had recovered a draft of the policy from one of the executives when it searched him earlier even as it found that investments worth Rs 200 crore in the retail liquor business were made by an entity in violation of the policy directives, the sources alleged.
The ED has conducted multiple raids in this case so far. In September, the ED made its first arrest in the case and took into custody Sameer Mahandru, managing director of liquor manufacturing company Indospirit.
The agency early this month raided the premises of a PA of Delhi Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and later questioned him at its office in Delhi.
The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR that had named Sisodia as an accused among others. The CBI had raided the premises of the deputy chief minister and some Delhi government bureaucrats after filing the case.
The excise scheme came under the scanner after the Delhi LG recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. The LG had also suspended 11 excise officials. The ED has questioned AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak and minister Satyendar Jain, currently in jail in an another money laundering case, in this case while the CBI has also questioned a number of people and arrested businessman Vijay Nair. The CBI also arrested liquor businessman Abhishek Boinpally.
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 had said.