The liquor businessman, Sameer Mahandru, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Delhi excise policy money laundering case, reportedly earned Rs 50 crore as ‘proceeds of crime’ in less than a year by violating the provisions of the liquor scheme, the agency told a local court.
Mahandru, who is the managing director of Indospirit, an alcoholic beverages manufacturing company, was taken into custody by the federal agency on Wednesday morning and the court of special judge, MK Nagpal later sent him to the ED custody till October 6.
He was interrogated by the agency overnight at its headquarters in central Delhi, reported NDTV.
The report suggests the ED claimed before the court that ‘proceeds of crime’ in crores were generated and ‘major violations’ were done by the accused involved in the case. The ED told the court while seeking Mahandru’s remand that even though the prime object of the policy was to eliminate the cartelisation between wholesellers, retailers, and keeping the government control on highly sensitive liquor trade, however, during the course of implementation of policy and due to policy violations, the said objective was intentionally forgotten and it resulted in huge losses to the government exchequer and illegal profits to liquor manufacturers, retailers as well as public servants.
The probing agency said that it was one of the major objectives of the excise policy that manufacturers and retailers have to be different persons and identities, however, it is alleged that Mahandru was one of the major beneficiaries of these violations as he was running a manufacturing unit for alcoholic beverages, but was also given a wholesale licence (L1) and several retail licenses (L7) in the name of his relatives.
The agency said that Indospirit manufactures a wine cooler called ‘Bro Code’ and a Japanese whiskey called ‘Enso’.
The ED said it is therefore alleged that Mahandru had earned an amount of roughly Rs 50 crore as profits of his above manufacturing unit during a period from November 17, 2021, to August 31, 2022, after deduction of taxes. This entire amount is claimed to be proceeds of crime generated out of the criminal activities… as it is stated to have been earned because of irregularities and violations of the excise policy.
The ED said that it was seeking Mr Mahandru’s custody “to ascertain the exact volume and extent of the laundered proceeds of crime”, further adding, “it has undertaken as many as 103 search operations in this case and that it wanted to confront Mr Mahandru with ‘huge digital and physical records’ seized during the raids.”