The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Punjab-based businessman Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra, in connection with its ongoing probe into Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 money laundering case, sources said on Wednesday.
Gautam, the Director of liquor manufacturing and distribution firm the OASIS group, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of money laundering. The ED sleuths arrested the businessman following his questioning in the case.
The businessman is accused of cartelisation in the Delhi Excise policy case.
This is the second arrest in the case in the last two days. On Tuesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation also arrested a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant, understood to be the auditor of BRS MLC K Kavitha.
The agency is expected to produce Gautam in a special court later in the day and seek his custody to question him in the Delhi Excise Policy case.
In October last year, the ED also raided the properties of Gautam and his father in Punjab. The younger son of Deep Malhotra, Gautam is said to manage the markets of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, apart from running the OASIS group’s distilleries in Ambala and Indore.
As per sources, Gautam is an associate of Amit Arora, Director of Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd, who was arrested by the ED in November last year in the alleged Delhi Excise Policy scam.
Other accused named 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.
Manoj Rai, a former employee of Pernod Ricard; Amandeep Dhal, director of Brindco Sales; authorised signatories of Mahadev Liquors Sunny Marwah, Arun Ramchandra Pillai and Arjun Pandey are some more accused in the case.
The agency last year filed its first chargesheet before a court in the national capital in the Delhi excise policy money laundering case naming liquor businessman Sameer Mahandru as one of the accused.
The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.
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.
A total of five people have been arrested by the ED in this case till now, excluding Arora. Mahandru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 27 following his questioning.
In October, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case.
The CBI too filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.
The ED and the 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.
An 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, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.