The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) did not name Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the first chargesheet filed in the Delhi excise policy case on Friday, but has launched prosecution against seven others — two excise officers and five from liqour industry.
The CBI, however, stated that “further investigation is continuing to probe the role of FIR named accused and other persons on various allegations including conspiracies with other licensees, money trails, cartelisation and larger conspiracies in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy.” This means that Sisodia may not be completely off the hook since the CBI said it continues to probe the role of persons whose name figures in the FIR and the senior AAP leader is one of them.
The chargesheeted accused, as per CBI officials, are — Vijay Nair, former CEO of events company ‘Only Much Louder’ and an Aam Aadmi Party associate; Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally; Managing Director (MD) of India Ahead News and Andhra Prabha newspaper Mootha Gautam; Indospirit Group MD Sameer Mahendru, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, owner of a Hyderabad-based infrastructure company; and retired government servants — former Deputy Commissioner of Excise Kuldeep Singh and then Assistant Commissioner of Excise Narendra Singh. Nair and Boinpally were earlier arrested by the CBI.
IPC Section 120-B
The seven accused have been charged under IPC Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the chargesheet filed before the Designated Court at Delhi within sixty days of lodging the FIR on August 17, officials said.
Name of Manish Sisodia’s close associate Dinesh Arora has been taken off the list of the accused since he has turned an approver for the CBI. Arora is said to have disclosed extensively about the case in a statement he recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate and was granted a pardon by a special court for assisting in the investigation.
The CBI has alleged that irregularities were committed including in modifications in excise policy, extending undue favours to the licencees, waiver or reduction in licence fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc. The agency has also charges that Illegal gains on count of these acts were diverted to public servants by private parties by making false entries in their books of accounts.