Delhi excise case: Court to hear Pernod Recard ED's bail plea on 19 January
16 January 2023
French liquor major Pernod Ricard is under regulatory scanner in India for alleged violation of excise rules in Delhi, by financially supporting retailers who in exchange stocked more of the company's brands and boosted its market share, the country's financial crimes investigating agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged.
A Delhi court has postponed hearing on a bail application of liquor giant Pernod Ricard's executive, Benoy Babu, arrested in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, also involving Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, to 19 January.
Special Judge M K Nagpal, who was scheduled to hear the arguments on Babu's bail application on Monday, adjourned the matter on pleas made by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as well as the advocate appearing for the accused.
The ED is investigating the alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped liquor policy of the Delhi government.
The government announced a permanent shutdown of liquor shops as a new excise policy came into effect.
The ED had, on 6 January, filed a supplementary charge sheet against five individuals and seven companies in the case. The agency, however, did not name Sisodia as accused in the case, and told the judge that further investigation is going on in the mater.
The ED on Thursday arrested two private company executives in a case related to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. The two arrested were Benoy Babu, general manager of liquor company Pernod Ricard, and P Sarath Chandra Reddy, whole-time director and promoter of Aurobindo Pharma.
The ED also booked Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally and Amit Arora in the case.
The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR that had also named Sisodia as an accused, among others. The CBI had raided the premises of the deputy chief minister and some Delhi government bureaucrats after filing the charges.
The excise scheme came under the scanner after the Delhi lieutenant governor recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. The LG had also suspended 11 excise officials.
In its order, the judge also noted that the prosecution complaint (ED's chargesheet) against Babu, as well as against some other co-accused, had been filed before the court and the court was yet to take cognisance of the documents.