This Article is From Feb 02, 2023

On "FaceTime Call" Charge In Liquor Case, Arvind Kejriwal Says "Fiction"

The chargesheet, which has been accessed by NDTV, also claims that Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party used the money from liquor scam for its campaign in Goa.

Arvind Kejriwal said the ED chargesheet is "complete fiction".

New Delhi:

An accused in the Delhi liquor scam -- Aam Aadmi Party communications in-charge Vijay Nair -- had arranged a FaceTime video call from his phone between Sameer Mahendru, chief of Indospirits and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Enforcement Directorate has alleged in a new chargesheet. On behalf of AAP leaders, Vijay Nair received Rs 100 crore from the "South group" as advance for licenses in Delhi liquor policy, the agency has alleged.

Vijay is "his boy," and Mr Kejriwal had apparently told Sameer Mahendru to "trust him and carry on with him," the Enforcement Directorate has claimed in the chargesheet, which has been accessed by NDTV. Mr Kejriwal is not named in the chargesheet as an accused.

AAP sources claimed that there is no truth in the allegations of the Enforcement Directorate and that Sameer Mahendru has told a court that his statement was obtained under duress.  

"The sentence where which Chief Minister Kejriwal's name is being added in this case -- accused Sameer Mahendru has already filed an application in the court regarding this sentence," a source said. "Sameer Mahendru has accused the ED of forcing his statement," he added. 

Asked about the matter, Mr Kejriwal said, "The Enforcement Directorate must have filed 5,000 cases". "The ED is meant to topple governments and buy and sell MLAs," he added, terming the chargesheet "complete fiction".

The chargesheet also claims that AAP had used the money from liquor scam for its election campaign in Goa. Besides, cash payments to the tune of Rs 70 lakh were made to volunteers of the survey teams, the agency has alleged.

The "South Group" comprised Kavitha of Telangana's ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Magunta Srinivasalu Reddy, an MP from Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress, and Sarath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma, the agency has alleged.

The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation have claimed that irregularities were committed while modifying Delhi's excise policy with connivance and kickbacks from the liquor lobby. Under it, licence fee was waived or reduced and undue favours were extended to liquor licence holders, the agencies have claimed.

There were also allegations that liquor firms made 12 per cent profit in the process, of which 6 per cent was routed to public servants through middlemen like Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Bonipally.   

Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been named as an accused and questioned in the case. The others accused in the case include then Excise Commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, Deputy Commissioner Anand Tiwari and Assistant Commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

AAP had claimed that the case, which came up in the run-up to the Gujarat elections, was a diversionary tactic of the BJP, which later swept the polls. Mr Sisodia, after a nine-hour questioning session by the Enforcement Directorate officials, claimed they asked him to quit AAP.