Delhi liquor scam: Three from Hyderabad among seven who figure in CBI charge sheet

The CBI charge sheet in the Delhi liquor scam names Arun Ramachandra Pillai, Mootha Gautam and Abhishek Boinpally

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Nov 25, 2022 | 8:27 PMUpdatedMar 13, 2023 | 10:07 AM

ED liquor raids Hyderabad

The CBI, in its first charge sheet filed in Rouse Avenue District Court in Delhi on Friday, 25 November, named seven persons, including two who have already been arrested, as having had a role in what has come to be known as the Delhi liquor scam.

The contents of the charge sheet came was a bit of an anti-climax as, contrary to speculation, no names of important leaders from the two Telugu states figured in it.

The charge sheet contained the names of the two arrested businessmen, the head of a news channel, a Hyderabad-based liquor businessman, a Delhi-based liquor distributor, and two officials of Delhi’s Excise Department.

Interestingly, the charge sheet did not even have the name of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia though his name had figured in the FIR.

The accused have been charged under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Related: No Sisodia in charge sheet, Delhi CM Kejriwal slams ‘fake’ case

The Hyderabad connection

The two arrested are Abhishek Boinpally, a Hyderabad-based businessman, and AAP leader Vijay Nair.

The others named in the charge sheet are: Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai; Mootha Gautam, also Hyderabad-based and head of a national news channel, liquor trader Sameer Mahendru, and Kuldeep Singh, the then deputy commissioner of excise, and Narender Singh, the then assistant commissioner of excise, Delhi.

The CBI registered the case on 17 August for the investigation into the irregularities that took place in framing and implementation of the excise policy of Delhi for 2021-22.

The irregularities related to modifications in excise policy, extending undue favours to licencees, waiver or reduction in licence fee, and extension of L-1 licence without approval.

It was also alleged that illegal gains were diverted to public servants concerned by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts.

The CBI said searches were conducted at the premises of the accused in various locations, which led to the recovery of the incriminating documents and articles, and digital records.

The investigation is into the role of those who have been named in the FIR and others in money trails, cartelisation, and larger conspiracies in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy.

Related: ED arrests Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, earlier held by CBI

Raids in the city

Abhishek Boinpally, alleged to be a middleman and a beauty salon chain owner from Hyderabad, was arrested on 20 October.

The allegation against him was that he aided the South lobby and the Hyderabad cartel involved in the liquor scam. He is alleged to have been involved in the talks that were held at several metros in fine-tuning Delhi liquor policy.

He is also charged with moving money through the hawala route to AAP leader Vijay Nair. He is alleged to have received huge funds into his accounts transferred by others who are accused in this case.

Arun Ramachandra Pillai, a resident of Kokapet in Hyderabad, is alleged to have collected money from one of the accused in the case for moving it to Vijay Nair.

In the middle of September, the Enforcement Directorate, after inputs from the CBI, raided the office of Robin Distilleries of which Pillai is director.

Pillai is alleged to have acted as a middleman between one of the accused in the case, Mahendru, and Vijay Nair. In August, the CBI made searches at his residence in Kokapet.

His Robin Distilleries is suspected to have links with Mahendru of Indo Spirits Pvt Ltd based in Delhi.