The Delhi Excise Policy, 2021–22 was created by the top AAP leaders to continuously generate and channel illegal funds for themselves, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which claimed this in its chargesheet. This is according to the investigation conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED states that the extent of involvement and abatement of the criminal activities by the leaders of the AAP covered in the subject, Prosecution Complaint, further substantiates their design and scheme of the scam.
According to the ED, the policy encouraged cartel formations through the back door awarding an exorbitant wholesale profit margin of 12 per cent and enormous retail profit margins of 185 per cent. It also encouraged other illegal activities due to a criminal conspiracy by the top AAP leaders to obtain kickbacks from the businesses.
The draft GoM report was delivered to Manish Sisodia’s secretary C Arvind, DANICS, in the middle of March 2021 when Manish Sisodia called C Arvind to the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (where Satyender Jain was also present), according to an ED report. C Arvind’s statement was dated December 7, 2022.
The conspiracy of the GoM to give wholesale business to private entities and fix a 12 per cent margin (to get a 6 per cent kickback out from the same) is clear from the statement of C. Arvind wherein he disclosed that there was neither any discussion in the GoM meetings about giving wholesale to private entities nor fixing 12 per cent profit margin for them.
He further stated that it was the first time that he saw these proposals in the draft GoM report, and he was directed to prepare the information based on the said document, stated ED.
The ED further disclosed that Vijay Nair, the AAP official who orchestrated this entire scam, is not an ordinary worker of the AAP but a close associate of Arvind Kejriwal, the CM of Delhi and was closely interacting with the Deputy CM for the Excise policy-related matters.
When the meeting between Sameer Mahandru, the owner/controller of IndoSpirits, and Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, didn’t happen, Vijay Nair set up a video call between the two using Facetime on his phone. During the call, CM Arvind Kejriwal told Sameer that Vijay is his boy and that Sameer should trust him and stick with him. These facts are relevant to mention so as to establish the abatement of his actions in relation to the Excise Policy scam, by the political leaders of the AAP, ED said.
Vijay Nair, who is incharge of Media and Communication for the AAP, had no role in the Delhi Govt, in fact acted as a broker/liaison/middleman on behalf of the top leaders of the AAP for getting bribes/kickbacks from various stakeholders in the Delhi Liquor business in exchange of favourable outcomes (policy changes) in the Excise Policy of 2021-22, which was being drafted at that time. According to ED, he even threatened the stakeholders who were not agreeing to his demands that the changes suitable/desired by them may not go through entirely if they do not concede to his needs, stated ED.
In connivance with Dinesh Arora and Amit Arora, Vijay Nair has also arm-twisted a wholesaler to surrender the L1 license and then coerced the manufacturers surrendered through that license to choose the wholesalers of his choice and favour to direct the profit margins to his co-conspirators so that there was complete control on the kickbacks to be extracted.
On behalf of leaders of AAP, Vijay Nair has received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore from a group, for convenience, we may call it the South Group (as termed in the statements of various persons recorded during the investigation, among which the prominent persons are Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy and K Kavitha. The South Group was represented by Abhishek Boinpally, Arun Pillai and Buchi Babu. Abhishek Boinpalli facilitated the transfer of Rs. 100 Cr kickback in connivance and conspiracy with Vijay Nair and his associate Dinesh Arora.
According to an investigation into the kickback’s history, the AAP used some of these funds in their electoral campaign for the Goa Assembly elections in 2022. Cash payments to the tune of Rs 70 lakhs were made to the volunteers who were part of the survey teams.
Vijay Nair has told certain persons involved in the campaign-related work to receive the payments in cash. Advertisement/hoarding-related work was directed to raise only part of the bills’ claims and receive the remaining in cash. These part cash payments were managed through Hawala Channels. Teams led by Sh Vijay Nair have directed certain firms even to issue bogus invoices.
According to the chargesheet from ED, these kickbacks were paid in advance to the AAP leaders through Vijay Nair by the South Group as a part of an agreement between the South Group.
On February 2, the Rouse Avenue Court also took Cognizance of the ED Chargesheet. The court is also presently examining the bail petitions of Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, P Sarath Reddy, Binoy Babu, Sameer Mahandru etc.