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Excise Policy Case: Delhi HC issues notice to CBI on plea challenging resumption of 'arguements on charge'

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea moved by Hydrabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai challenging a trial court order allowing the investigation agency to resume arguements on charges in the Delhi Excise Policy case.
Arun Ramchandra 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 recently by the CBI in which Chargesheet is yet to be filed.
Appearing for Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Advocate Nitesh Rana submitted that the arguements on charges have already begun before the trial court and the next date of hearing before the said court is May 7, 2024. He requested the High Court to decide the matter before that.
Having noted the submissions, the Bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma sought a response from CBI in the matter and fixed it for May 3, 2024.
The petition filed by Advocate Deepak Nagar for Arun Ramchandra Pillai stated that further investigation is still ongoing.
on several aspects, 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, that two of the accused in this case Manish Sisodia and Amandeep Singh Dhall have still running in judicial custody for a 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 investigation.
Arun Ramchandra Pillai is presently in Judicial Custody and was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi Excise Policy case. In the CBI case Arun was never arrested in the case but an accused in the case.
Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai was arrested by the ED in March 2023 in connection with the Delhi Excise policy scam. Arun Ramchandra Pillai was arrested by ED for allegations that he collected bribes from another accused, Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of spirit 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 Sh 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. (ANI)
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 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 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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