Delhi court allows accused Sarath Chandra Reddy in Excise Policy money laundering case to turn approver
Hyderabad-based businessman P Sarath Chandra Reddy has turned an approver in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam after a Delhi court allowed his prayer to that effect and granted him pardon. Former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is also an accused in the case. The development may compound the legal woes of other accused including Sisodia, a trusted man of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Special Judge M K Nagpal, who is dealing with CBI and ED cases related to the alleged scam, said on Thursday that Reddy was granted a pardon by an order passed on May 29. The court made the decision on an application moved by Reddy, who in his application said, “I am ready to make true disclosure voluntarily about the case and want to be an approver in the case.” Reddy was recently granted bail by the Delhi High Court on medical grounds.
Reddy is the head of the Hyderabad-based company Aurobindo Pharma and was also engaged in the liquor business. Reddy had in the past accused the ED of putting undue pressure and using force on witnesses to sign “pre-dictated” statements. However, in the course of the investigation, he later said the allegations were “baseless“.
The CBI and the ED have charged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, undue favours were extended to licence holders, licence fee was waived or reduced and L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The ED had earlier told the court it was amply evident that Reddy had actively planned and conspired with various business owners and politicians involved in the alleged scam, and indulged in unfair market practices to gain undue advantage from the Delhi excise policy.
Reddy was alleged to have led a nexus that controlled a huge market share of the liquor business in the national capital by way of cartelization in clear contravention of the objectives of the excise policy. A Delhi-based businessman Dinesh Arora had earlier turned approver in the corruption case arising from the alleged scam, also being probed by the CBI.
Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who held the excise portfolio when the alleged scam took place in 2021-22, is also an accused in the cases being probed by the CBI and ED. He is currently in judicial custody. The ED is investigating money laundering by the accused in cases related to the now-scrapped liquor policy.
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