Delhi liquor scam: ED raids media houses in Hyderabad
HYDERABAD: Days after the arrest of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's close associates, Sameer Mahendru and Vijay Nair, by the CBI and the ED, the Enforcement Directorate on Friday conducted fresh raids at several places across the country, including Hyderabad, in connection with the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy.
According to ED sources, the offices of one Abhinav Rao, a resident of Madhapur, and Sarath Chandra, a resident of Kukatpally, and a vernacular newspaper office as well as an English TV channel office, both located in Banjara Hills, were searched as part of the nationwide raids.
Agency officials questioned a few people associated with the media houses and obtained information about investments in publishing houses in Hyderabad, sources said.
The raids follow the statement given by Mahendru, managing director of Indospirit, a liquor distributor. Mahendru's arrest came a day after the CBI arrested Vijay Nair, former CEO of the event management company Only Much Louder.
After taking cognizance of a CBI FIR that named Sisodia and 14 others in the Delhi liquor scam, the ED launched its investigation into the case under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Nair and Mahendru were allegedly involved in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi government's excise policy. Further, sources said, Sisodia's close associates Amit Arora, director of Buddy Retail Pvt. Limited, Dinesh Arora of Radha Industries, and Arjun Pandey were actively involved in managing and diverting money collected from liquor licencees to accused public servants.
According to a source, Mahendru transferred Rs. 1 crore to Radha Industries' account no. 10220210004647 at UCO Bank in Rajendra Place, New Delhi, belonging to Dinesh Arora. Arun Ramchandra Pillai, a Hyderabad-based businessman, used to collect undue financial advantage from Mahendru, which he then passed on to Nair, ED sources said.