A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Vijay Nair, communications chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and former CEO of Mumbai-based entertainment and event management company ‘Only Much Louder’, to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remand for five days in the Delhi Excise Policy case.
The CBI had sought remand for seven days.
Earlier on Tuesday, the CBI claimed to have arrested Nair for conspiracy, ‘cartelisation’ and ‘chosen licensing’ in Delhi Excise Policy following which the AAP insisted termed the allegations as “baseless”.
The sources further said that Nair was called to CBI headquarters and was arrested after questioning.
Earlier in August, CBI had registered an FIR against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 14 others in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy.
Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers and some unidentified public servants and private persons have also been booked in the case. Vijay Nair is one of the accused in the case.
Meanwhile, AAP claimed that Nair has nothing to do with excise policy and termed the case as “baseless”.
“Vijay Nair is communication in-charge of AAP. He was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies in Punjab earlier and Gujarat now. He has nothing to do with excise policy. Strangely, he has been arrested by CBI just now in the case,” the party’s statement read.
“He was called for questioning last few days and was pressured to take the name of Manish Sisodia. When he refused to do that, he was threatened that he would be arrested. His house was raided twice in last one month but nothing was found,” the party had claimed.
The party accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and said that this (arrest) is an attempt to crush AAP and obstruct AAP’s Gujarat campaign.
Notably, the central agencies are probing the Delhi excise policy case on the recommendation of Governor VK Saxena, following which the CBI raided Manish Sisodia’s house earlier in August.
Sisodia was among 15 others booked in an FIR filed by the CBI. Excise officials, liquor company executives, dealers, some unknown public servants and private persons have been booked in the case.
It was alleged that irregularities were committed including modifications in the excise policy and undue favours were extended to the license holders including waiver or reduction in licence fee, an extension of L-1 license without approval etc.
The excise policy was passed in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
However, the Delhi government’s version is that the policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, and eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience. A report on July 8 by Delhi’s Chief Secretary established prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules 2010.
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