Delhi court takes cognisance of ED’s first charge sheet in excise policy case

A Delhi court on Tuesday took cognisance of the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) first charge sheet against liquor businessman Sameer Mahandru and four companies, in connection with the Delhi excise policy money laundering case.

Special Judge M.K. Nagpal directed the jail authorities to produce Mahandru before the court on January 5.

The court, taking cognisance of the charge sheet against Mahandru, who is currently in jail, and four companies – Bubbly Beverages Pvt Ltd, Indo Spirits, Khao Gali Restaurants Pvt Ltd, and Indospirit Distribution Ltd., which are allegedly related to or owned or controlled by him, also directed the representatives of the accused companies to appear before it.

“After going through the contents of complaint, statements of witnesses recorded during the course of investigation, and also the oral and documentary evidence collected by the investigating agency, it appears to this court that all the five persons/entities made accused in this complaint are either directly or indirectly found to have indulged or attempted to indulge in or knowingly assisted or have been a party to or actually involved etc. in the process or activities related to generation of the above proceeds of crime or its concealment, possession, acquisition, use and projection or claiming the same as untainted property,” it said.

The court noted that the other accused’s investigation is going on to trace out the balance proceeds of crime.

“Hence, cognisance of the offence of money laundering is hereby taken by this court and since sufficient grounds exist for proceeding further in the matter against all the above five accused, they are directed to be summoned to appear and face trial before this court for the above said offence.”

Judge Nagpal’s court, on December 14, sent businessman Amit Arora to 14 days judicial custody in connection with the alleged scam, after ED’s counsel, N.K. Matta, had submitted that the accused’s further custody was not required.

Arora, the accused number sixth in the ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s FIR, is the owner of Buddy Retail Private Ltd.

The ED filed its case on the basis of the FIR of the CBI.

The CBI has charge sheeted Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Mahendru, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Mootha Gautham, and two public servants – the then Deputy Commissioner of Excise Department Kuldeep Singh and the then Assistant Commissioner of Excise Department Narender Singh.

The ED said in its charge sheet that Mahandru was one of the main conspirator and major beneficiaries of the criminal conspiracy.

Mahandru was arrested by it on September 27 following his questioning.

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