Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Delhi Excise Policy scam case: Rouse Avenue court dismisses bail plea of Aam Aadmi Party leader Vijay Nair

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed as ‘not maintainable,’ the default bail petition of former communications in-charge of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Vijay Nair, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Delhi Liquor Policy scam case.

Noting that the Delhi High Court had already rejected his regular bail plea, the Rouse Avenue Court observed that the present court was not the right forum to consider the grounds for default bail.

It directed the petitioner to approach either the same judge or another Bench of the High Court for relief.

The AAP leader had moved the court seeking bail on the grounds that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed an ‘incomplete’ prosecution complaint regarding him.

The petitioner had claimed that the supplementary prosecution complaint filed by the ED was incomplete as the investigation against him had not been fully completed. He argued that allowing incomplete charge sheets would undermine the principles of criminal jurisprudence.

The national agency, while opposing Nair’s regular bail petition, asserted that the probe regarding him was complete when the prosecution complaint was filed.

It further said that while further investigation was still going on to trace other offenders and the proceeds of crime, the agency did not render the prosecution complaint incomplete or piecemeal.

On July 3, the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma of the High Court had denied bail to Nair, former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally and General Manager of Pernod Ricard India Benoy Babu.

On October 6, 2022, a local court in Delhi had sent the businessman to 14-day judicial custody in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy scam case.

The Single-Judge Bench of Special Judge M.K. Nagpal at the Rouse Avenue Court had sent Nair to judicial custody after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted that his custody was no longer needed.

As per CBI, the former CEO of event management firm Only Much Louder (OML) was actively involved in the formulation of the Delhi government’s liquor policy for 2021-22.

He was also involved in meeting other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors in different hotels at Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging the ‘ill-gotten money’ through hawala operators and channels, the national agency further alleged.

Earlier, he was sent to CBI custody till October 6, 2022, after the agency demanded his custody to probe the corruption cases.

Nair was arrested by CBI on September 27 in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy scam, in which Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is also an accused. Sources said that Nair was one of the key conspirators and involved in the alleged irregularities in the allocation of liquor licences.

The Delhi government had implemented the new policy on November 17, 2021, under which, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. However, the Delhi government withdrew the policy on July 30 this year, after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into it by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The national capital reverted to its old liquor policy on September 1 this year, under which only state-run stores were allowed to operate.

According to CBI, favours were given to liquor licence holders under the now-withdrawn policy. These included allegedly waiving or reducing the licence fee and granting L-1 licences for wholesale supply of liquor without the approval of the competent authority.


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