Published On: Thu, May 4th, 2023

ED names Manish Sisodia as accused Delhi liquor policy scam

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed a fresh charge sheet in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case naming AAP leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia as an accused in the case for the first time, official sources said.

The scam initiated with the drafting of the excise policy of 2021-22 by the AAP leaders

Sisodia was arrested by the ED in this case on March 9 from Tihar Jail and he is currently in judicial custody. The 51-year-old Aam Aadmi Party leader was first arrested by the CBI, which is also probing this case.

This is the fourth supplementary and overall fifth charge sheet or prosecution complaint filed in the case by the ED before a designated special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi.

The about 270 page charge sheet has annexures running into 2,000 pages. The agency has called Sisodia a “key conspirator” in this case. It had alleged, in the previous charge sheets, that the liquor policy ‘scam’ was a “conspiracy” undertaken by some of the big political leaders of the AAP and the so called ‘South Group’ comprising BRS leader K Kavitha, YSR Congress MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and others who “used” proxies and dummies to conceal their involvement.

“On one hand it is Manish Sisodia and other top leaders of AAP and Vijay Nair who was working under the overall guidance and sanction of Manish Sisodia,” the agency claimed in an earlier filed charge sheet whose cognisance was taken by the court recently. “The scam initiated with the drafting of the excise policy of 2021-22 by the AAP leaders, specifically by Manish Sisodia with an objective of generating illegal funds followed by a nexus/understanding between key players of the South Group and Manish Sisodia and thereafter managed by Vijay Nair, who is a representative of AAP, payment of advance kickbacks from the former to the latter in exchange of undue favours,” the ED said.

This was followed, it said, by usage of seemingly simple business entities for the ulterior motive of recouping and recovering the kickbacks (of Rs 100 crore allegedly paid by the South Group to the AAP) paid, it said. Another aspect, it claimed in the charge sheet, of the scam involved various entities involved in conspiracy to form cartels to increase their profits illegally and in violation of the principles/objectives of the excise policy 2021-22.

It had alleged that this bribe fund was given by the ‘South Group’ to claim stake in the Delhi liquor market and the agency says this illegal money was used by the AAP to fund its 2022 Goa assembly polls campaign. The federal agency has arrested 12 people including Sisodia in this case till now, in which it has said the probe is continuing.

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