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Delhi excise policy case: Court sends businessman Dinesh Arora to 14-day judicial custody
New Delhi: The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi on Monday sent businessman Dinesh Arora to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with its ongoing probe in the Delhi excise policy case.
Arora was represented in the court today at the end of his remand period by the Enforcement Directorate. He was arrested by ED on July 6. Arora, on Monday also moved an interim bail plea based on his wife's health grounds. The court kept the matter for July 25.
Meanwhile, the court also allowed Arora plea seeking separate jail. The Court directed jail authorities to keep him in a separate jail where other accused are not confined related to this case.
Arora had moved an application in the court seeking separate lockup stating he be sent to that lockup where other accused of this case 'should not be there'.
Special Judge MK Nagpal on Monday sent Arora to judicial custody till July 31.
Earlier, while seeking remand, ED counsels submitted that during the custody he has been confronted with certain persons and documents involved in relation to the transfer of cash and proceeds of crime.
ED further stated that he has also revealed some crucial facts and names of individuals receiving proceeds of crime. On the basis of the information provided by the accused, searches are being carried out in Delhi and NCR which will lead to recovery of incriminating material.
ED said, three more persons were summoned to join the investigation including one person whose premises are being searched today. They are expected to join the investigation in a day or two and the accused is also to be confronted with the persons and to find the destination of the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 2 crore.
Arora was arrested under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The businessman was allegedly a close associate of Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who is also an accused in the excise policy case and has been arrested by the ED as well as the CBI.
Arora has been declared an approver in the same case. Earlier Vikas Pahwa, senior counsel, appeared for Dinesh Arora and submitted that he has not seen the grounds of arrest.
Before the pardon was given on November 16, 2022, ED had called Arora in September.
His statements are being relied on by the ED in various Prosecution Complaints. "This court while rejecting bail, has "relied on his statement", submitted Pahwa.
According to ED, considered close to jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, Arora is the 13th person arrested so far in the case by the Enforcement Directorate.
Last year, a city court allowed the CBI's request to make Arora an approver in the case.
ED has so far filed five charge sheets in the case, including against Sisodia.
ED, last year filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken over 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR, taking cognisance of a CBI case that 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.
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 and arrested him later.
The CBI too filed its first charge sheet in the case last 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.
As per the allegations, 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. (ANI)