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Sarath Reddy destroyed digital evidence, IP addresses match: ED

Published Feb 6, 2023, 12:50 am IST
Updated Feb 6, 2023, 12:50 am IST
P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, son of Aurobindo Pharma founder P.V. Ram Prasad Reddy, is key partner in South Group, the biggest cartel benefiting from the Delhi liquor scam, the ED said. (Photo by arrangement)
 P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, son of Aurobindo Pharma founder P.V. Ram Prasad Reddy, is key partner in South Group, the biggest cartel benefiting from the Delhi liquor scam, the ED said. (Photo by arrangement)

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad-based businessman P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, son of Aurobindo Pharma founder P.V. Ram Prasad Reddy, who is allegedly a key partner in the biggest cartel benefiting from the Delhi liquor scam, named the ‘South Group’, as per a statement by Dinesh Arora, an accused-turned-approver, regarding the modus operandi adopted by alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, is in further trouble with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) establishing that he had used and destroyed nine high-end smartphones.

An Aurobindo Pharma non-executive director, Sarath Reddy, who has emerged as a key player in the Delhi liquor scam case, and was repeatedly refused bail, ED sources explained, has been nailed with the matching of IP addresses during the investigation. The IP addresses originating from and belonging to various entities owned and operated by Sarath Reddy, including Avanthika, Trident and Organomix, among others, have been matched for exchange of crucial information during the ED investigation.

Meanwhile, ED officials, who claimed in their complaint that Sarath Reddy was one of the kingpins and a major beneficiary in the scam, said in their prosecution complaint filed before the court that IP addresses of Avanthika and Trident have been matched 19,868 times, IP addresses of Avanthika and Organomix matched 17,156 times and Trident and Organomix IP addresses matched 2,397 times. Trident, Avanthika and Organomix, which he owns, obtained L7 licenses in Delhi.

“Digital evidence (is) in the form of WhatsApp chats dated September 15, 2022, wherein one person named Bhushan, an employee of Avanthika, was seeking directions from Sarath Chandan Reddy, an employee of Trident, on major matters on taking office (space) for Avanthika and confirming rent. Digital evidence in the form of WhatsApp chat between Chandan Reddy and a lawyer, wherein it was found that the former was taking a major decision in respect of five zones, all controlled by Sarath Chandra Reddy, as he approved draft notes of the three entities,” the ED officials said.

The forensic audit report, which was submitted by TCS, reflected IP addresses conflict in the running operation of Sarath Chandra Reddy’s entities. He started a retail business in Delhi and asked his staffer, Chandan Reddy, to take assistance from Abhishek Boinapally to maintain five retail zones in Delhi.

The submission of Auro Reality, reflecting the investments of Sarath Chandra Reddy in Organomix and Avanthika showed that he had indulged in manipulating Credit Notes (CN), sources said.

The auditor Gorantla Buchi Babu, who is one of the accused in the scam, had reportedly informed Arun Pillai that he could clinch business deals with Sarath Chandra Reddy, and in turn, offered Pillai’s industry knowhow for exchange of financial and legal clout.

The agency mentioned that Sharath Chandra Reddy was effectively controlling five retail zones through his group company Trident Chemphar Pvt. Ltd., and other proxy entities like Organomix Ecosystems and Sri Avantika Contractors, violating the excise policy, which barred any person from controlling more than two retail zones.

Sarath Chandra Reddy, who formerly headed the Trident Life Sciences Ltd., which has been acquired by Aurobindo Pharma, also destroyed evidence in the case. The investigation agency found that extensive digital evidence was destroyed on purpose to stymie the investigation.

“Around 36 suspects, accused of involvement in the case, had destroyed 176 mobile phones and laptops that they possessed after the case was handed over to the agency. The ED has been able to retrieve data from 17 cell phones. ED officials also found mobile phones destroyed by BRS MLC K. Kavitha, and others, including Srujan Reddy, Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinapally, Butchi Babu Gorantla and Sharath Reddy. The Aurobindo Pharma director controlled 30 per cent of Delhi liquor market using benamis and the details of the working of the conspiracy are likely laid bare in the evidence he destroyed,” sources said.

ED officials disclosed that the accused were trying to kill call records of each other’s contacts and messages by destroying phones. According to sources, the details of transactions worth more than `100 crore have been found for modification and changes in the Delhi liquor policy.

Initial investigation suggests that the liquor scam is not a small one, but the wires of this matter are connected to many states.

“There are instances wherein the accused/suspects have used SIM cards issued in the name of other persons and phones purchased in some other name. They possibly reasoned that if caught, they may take this excuse that either the SIM card was not in their name or that phones were not purchased by them and belong to other persons,” the ED said in its chargesheet.

ED officials arrested Sarath Chandra Reddy on November 10, 2022, along with Benoy Babu, general manager, international brands, Pernod Ricard, in connection with its money-laundering probe into the alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped liquor policy of the Delhi government.

In the remand report, the ED officials stated that Sarath Reddy played a key role in the scam by investing an amount in obtaining L7 liquor retail zones. He filed petitions seeking bail before the courts, which all were rejected.

Recently he filed a bail petition when his grandmother passed away in Hyderabad. Considering the final rites of the grandmother, the court granted 14-day conditional bail to Sarath Chandra Reddy.

“Giving that he is a flight risk, officials have kept a keen eye on his movements,” sources added.



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