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CBI questions Indian Ahead News MD Mootha Gautam in Delhi excise scam case

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (PTI) The CBI on Wednesday questioned Managing Director of India Ahead News and Andhra Prabha newspaper Mootha Gautam in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam case, officials said.

The executive was called to the CBI headquarters in the morning and grilled on various aspects of the case including some transactions, they said.

Although he is not named as accused in the FIR, another employee of the channel, Arjun Pandey, is named in the FIR as one of the alleged “close associates” of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The agency also questioned on Wednesday Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Private Limited in Gurugram, also listed in the FIR as one of the three close associates of Sisodia.

He has been questioned earlier also in connection with the case, they said.

The CBI has recently arrested Aam Aadmi Party leader Vijay Nair and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally in connection with the case.

Boinpally, who was allegedly lobbying for certain liquor businessmen based in southern India, was called for questioning on Sunday. The agency found him evading certain key questions and took him into custody late at night, they said.

Boinpally is also not named as an accused in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR pertaining to the case but his close associate and partner, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, is.

The two founded Robin Distribution LLP in July this year, according to Registrar of Companies (RoC) database.

According to the FIR, Sisodia’s “close associates” — Amit Arora, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey — were “actively involved in managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage collected from liquor licensees” to the accused public servants.

The FIR claims, based on “source information”, that Sisodia and the accused public servants took decisions pertaining to the Excise Policy 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with “an intention to extend undue favours to the licencees post tender”.

“It was alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in Excise Policy, extending undue favours to the licencees, waiver/reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 licence without approval, etc.,” the CBI’s spokesperson had said.

The CBI has alleged that Radha Industries managed by Dinesh Arora received Rs 1 crore from Sameer Mahendru of Indospirits.

“Source further revealed that Arun Ramchandra Pillai used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Sameer Mahendru for onward transmission to the accused public servants through Vijay Nair. A person named Arjun Pandey has once collected a huge cash amount of about Rs 2-4 crore from Sameer Mahendru on behalf of Vijay Nair,” the FIR has alleged.

The Excise Policy 2021-22, implemented on November 17, 2021, was withdrawn by the Delhi government amid allegations of irregularities in its implementation. Out of 849 private vends issued licences under the policy, about 250 were functioning that closed down in September. PTI ABS SMN

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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