The Delhi High Court on Monday, 20 March, asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to respond to a bail plea by Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally, an accused in a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued a notice to the ED on the petition by Abhishek Boinpally challenging the dismissal of his bail plea by a trial court on 16 February.
He has also challenged his arrest, remand and other alleged illegal proceedings conducted by the ED in the case. The high court also issued a notice to the ED on the issue of the maintainability of the petition.
The HC listed the matter for further hearing on 12 April.
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Trial court denied bail
Besides Boinpally, the trial court had denied bail to accused businessmen Vijay Nair and Sameer Mahendru, liquor giant Pernod Ricard’s executive Benoy Babu and Aurobindo Pharma’s promoter Sarath P Reddy, saying it was not possible to hold that they will make no attempt to tamper with evidence if released.
The trial court had said that further investigation, including the role of the other people involved in the commission of alleged offences and tracing the complete trail of the ill-gotten money, was still pending.
The trial court had noted that Boinpally, who was arrested by the ED on 14 November last year, was prima facie one of the representatives of the ‘South Group‘ in the cartel and played an active role in the payment of kickbacks as well as their recoupment.
He met co-accused Vijay Nair and others as a representative of the ‘South Group’ in connection with the formulation of the excise policy, the court had said.
Related: ED custody of Arun Pillai extended
Kickbacks transferred through Boinpally
It was through Boinpally that at least ₹20-30 crore of kickbacks were allegedly transferred to Delhi from the ‘South Group’ and delivered to Nair and his team, it had added.
The ED’s money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR.
The CBI has alleged that Nair was involved in meeting the other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors at various hotels in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging the “ill-gotten money through hawala operators”.
It has also claimed that Boinpally was part of the meetings and involved in the conspiracy to launder money along with another accused — liquor businessman Sameer Mahendru.
The ED raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Mahendru, the managing director of liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in connection with the money laundering case.
The other accused in the case are former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, former excise commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, former deputy commissioner in the Excise Department Anand Tiwari and former assistant commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.
According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to licence holders.
The Delhi government implemented the excise policy on 17 November, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
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