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Excise Case: Delhi HC issues notice to ED on Businessman Arun R Pillai's medical bail plea

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea moved by Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai seeking interim bail on medical grounds.
Arun Ramchandra Pillai is presently in judicial custody and was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi Excise Policy case.
The bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma sought a response from ED and listed the matter for June 10, 2024. He was represented by Advocate Nitesh Rana and Advocate Deepak Nagar in the matter.
According to the application copy, the applicant has been suffering from a history of lower back aches radiating up to limbs for the past eight years.
"The applicant also has a history of two episodes of fall causing damage to his back, one thirteen years ago, and the second around four years ago. He also has a history of Tuberculosis (Lymph node). The applicant went through a treatment for tuberculosis in 2011," it stated.
The fresh application moved by Arun Ramchandra Pillai seeking court direction to grant interim bail to the applicant on medical grounds for eight weeks.
Recently the Delhi High Court had kept the order reserved on Pillai's plea challenging the trial court order allowing CBI to resume arguments on charges in the Delhi Excise Policy case.
"In the matter, appearing for Central Bureau of Investigation, Advocate DP Singh informed the court that they are set to file a charge sheet in the case in the first week of June," noted the CBI submissions.
The bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma reserved the order in the matter.
Pillai through plea stated that even after the lapse of more than 15 months, the investigation is still not concluded and now the prosecution under the garb of "expeditious trial" cannot be permitted to prejudice the present petitioner.
It also stated that BRS Leader K Kavitha was also arrested by the CBI in which charge sheet is yet to be filed in the coming days.
Appearing for Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Advocate Nitesh Rana and Deepak Nagar submitted that the arguments on charges have already begun before the trial court. As further investigation is still going on several aspects, it is possible that CBI may add additional accused persons on the progress of the said further investigation.
On March 22, the trial court Judge in its order said, "Two of the accused in this case Manish Sisodia and Amandeep Singh Dhall are still in judicial custody since long and in the considered opinion of this court, their interests will be more prejudiced if the proceedings of this case are halted for no fault on their part and they are made to sit in prison or are kept detained pending the conclusion of the further investigation. Thus, it is rather in the interests of the accused themselves, especially the accused who are running in judicial custody, if a hearing on charges is commenced by this court without waiting for the conclusion of the ongoing further investigation."
Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Pillai was arrested by the ED in March 2023 in connection with the Delhi Excise policy scam. He was arrested by ED for allegations that he collected bribes from another accused, Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of lndospirit and handed it over to the other accused.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a supplementary complaint in the alleged liquor scam case, against Arun Ramachandran Pillai and Delhi-based businessman Amandeep Dhall.
The chargesheet stated that Arun Pillai had given false statements under section 50 of PMLA, 2002 during the investigation.
"Arun Pillai has actively participated in evidence destruction and has changed/used/destroyed 5 nos. of mobile phones in the span of 2 years. The phones used by Arun Pillai during the period of the scam have not been produced by him during the investigation," ED stated.
Further, the chats with Arun Pillai found from other persons' phones have not been found from his phones, which were seized during the search that is because Arun Pillai has indulged in the destruction of evidence, the chargesheet stated.
Arun Pillai has attempted to create a legal facade by allegedly filing a retraction of all his statements during the period of investigation given under section 50 of PMLA.
"This act of Arun Pillai is only to create a legal facade and is motivated to derail the investigation," the agency further stated.
In the ED case, Businessman Amandeep Singh Dhal was arrested on March 1 and Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai was arrested on March 6, 2023.
The ED and the CBI have alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to license holders, the license fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 license 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 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.

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