New Delhi: On March 6, the Rouse Avenue Court granted bail to Hyderabad-based chartered accountant Butchibabu Gorantla, arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam.
The case has brought to light the name of Butchibabu Gorantla, a former auditor for Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter and MLC K Kavitha.
Butchibabu was granted bail by Special Judge MK Nagpal on March 6, who also ordered him to turn in his passport.
On March 6, the same court ordered Manish Sisodia, former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, to judicial remand till March 20 in the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam.
While granting bail, the court also imposed a condition that the accused shall not tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.
Recently, Rouse Avenue Court granted Enforcement Directorate (ED) permission to quiz Butchibabu Gorantla in judicial custody. In the money laundering case pertaining to the Excise Policy, ED had moved an application and sought permission to quiz him and record his statement.
On February 8, Butchibabu was detained by CBI in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case.
After his arrest, CBI informed in a statement that the accused CA was arrested for his alleged role in formulating and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy and causing wrongful gain to Hyderabad-based wholesale and retail licensees and their beneficial owners.
The Delhi Excise Policy, 2021–22 was recently created by the top Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders to continuously generate and channel illegal funds to themselves, the ED recently said in its chargesheet, according to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) inquiry that was conducted so far.
ED further stated that the extent of involvement and abatement done by AAP leaders of the criminal activities undertaken by the accused covered in the subject Prosecution Complaint further substantiates their design and scheme of the scam.
The policy promoted cartel formations through back door awarded an exorbitant wholesale profit margin of 12 per cent and a huge retail profit margin of 185 per cent, and incentivized other illegal activities on account of criminal conspiracy by the top leaders of AAP to extract kickbacks from the businesses, stated the ED.
On behalf of AAP leaders, 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, whose prominent persons are Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy and K Kavitha).
Abhishek Boinpally, Arun Pillai and Butchibabu represented the South Group. ED claimed that Abhishek Boinpalli facilitated the transfer of Rs 100 crore kickback in connivance and conspiracy with Vijay Nair and his associate Dinesh Arora.
The ED and the CBI filed cases last year stating that irregularities were committed while modifying Delhi’s Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced, and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.
As claimed, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to Covid-19, which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
According to officials, the Delhi Chief Secretary’s report, which was submitted in July, found that there had been apparent violations of the GNCTD Act of 1991, the Transaction of Business Regulations (ToBR) of 1993, the Delhi Excise Act of 2009, and the Delhi Excise Rules of 2010, among other laws.