Man who transferred AAP bribe through hawala in Delhi excise case arrested: ED | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Man who transferred AAP bribe through hawala in Delhi excise case arrested: ED

May 03, 2024 10:03 PM IST

Vinod Chauhan was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is the 18th person to be arrested by ED in the case

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday arrested Vinod Chauhan, who is accused of transferring bribes allegedly received by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) via hawala, in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money-laundering case, people familiar with the development said on Friday.

The Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi ) (ANI/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)
The Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi ) (ANI/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

Vinod Chauhan was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is the 18th person to be arrested by ED in the case, said an official who didn’t want to be named.

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ED previously arrested K Kavitha, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in March. Both are currently lodged in Tihar prison.

“Statement of one of the staff members of K Kavitha revealed that he collected two heavy bags containing cash from accused Dinesh Arora’s office on Abhishek Boinpally’s directions and delivered it to Vinod Chauhan. On another occasion, he collected two such bags containing cash from an address near Todapur, Narayana, New Delhi and again delivered it to Vinod Chauhan. Chauhan then transferred the same for AAP election campaign in Goa through hawala route,” the official cited above said.

The agency has claimed that out of 100 crore bribe money given to AAP in Delhi excise policy by a South Group - of which Kavitha was a member - 45 crore was used for Goa assembly elections 2022.

The AAP, Arvind Kejriwal and Kavitha have denied the allegations.

The agency has claimed that Kavitha was in touch with AAP’s then communication in-charge Vijay Nair, who was meeting liquor businessmen and politicians at the time of formulation and implementation of the controversial now-scrapped excise policy in the national capital.

It is alleged that businessman Sameer Mahendru’s Indospirits Group controlled multiple retail zones in Delhi under this policy, and advance payment of kickbacks worth 100 crore to the AAP leaders by an alleged South Group of which she was a member.

The South Group comprised YSR Congress member of parliament, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Group), K Kavitha, and Delhi-based businessman Sameer Mahendru. It was represented by Abhishek Boinpally, Arun Pillai and Butchibabu in meetings with Vijay Nair and other liquor businessmen.

The Delhi government’s 2021-22 excise policy aimed to revitalize the city’s flagging liquor business. It aimed to replace a sales-volume based regime with a license fee one for traders, and promised swankier stores, free of the infamous metal grilles, ultimately giving customers a better buying experience. The policy also introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor, a first for Delhi.

The plan, however, came to an abrupt halt, with Delhi’s lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime. This ultimately resulted in the policy being scrapped prematurely and being replaced by the 2020-21 regime, with AAP alleging that Saxena’s predecessor sabotaged the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

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