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Excise Case: Delhi HC issues notice to two accused on ED plea challenging their bail granted by trial court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to two accused Rajesh Joshi and Gautam Malhotra on Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea challenging a trial court order granting them bail in a money laundering case connected with the Delhi Excise policy.
The Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued notice to the two accused. Meanwhile, the observations made in the trial court order shall not be relied upon by any co-accused or any other person, said the Court. The court fixed the matter for July 20.
On May 6, the Rouse Avenue Court granted regular bail to two accused Rajesh Joshi and Gautam Malhotra in a money laundering case connected with the Delhi Excise policy.
While passing an order in the matter the trial court observed that Rajesh Joshi was not a participant in any of the meetings which allegedly took place between the other co-accused or conspirators. He was admittedly not a part of the cartels formed in violation of the said policy nor he had any connection with any of the entities that were granted/applied licenses for the liquor business in Delhi.
The trial court, with respect to the allegations against Gautam Malhotra, it was observed that even the most important witness of the prosecution is not supporting their case regarding the payment of Rs 2.5 crore as a bribe - "even the star witness of the prosecution case is not supporting their case regarding payment of the above amount of Rs 2.5 crores by him to the co-accused Amit Arora in his office, as a bribe or towards repayment of the advance kickback amount and out of his profit margin as a wholesaler being beneficial owner/controller of wholesale entity M/s Gautam Wines and hence, what value can be given to the uncorroborated disclosures made by the co-accused Amit Arora in his above statement will be a matter of trial only," the court said.
Gautam Malhotra, Punjab-based businessman is son of former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA and liquor baron Deep Malhotra and Rajesh Joshi, is the owner of Chariot Production Media Pvt Ltd Joshi, which is alleged to have run the Aam Aadmi Party campaign during 2022 Goa Assembly polls.
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.
The FIR in the case was instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (ANI)

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