Delhi excise ‘scam’: Court grants bail to two men accused of transferring kickbacks for AAP’s poll expense

A Delhi court has granted bail to two men who were accused of being instrumental in the transfer of Rs 44 crore kickbacks from Delhi to Goa for election expenses of AAP in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Noting that the duo did not play any role in the formulation or implementation of the policy, Special Judge M K Nagpal granted relief to Chanpreet Singh Rayat and Arvind Kumar Singh on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each.

“It is not in dispute that both the applicants have not played any role in the formulation of the above excise policy and they are also not found connected with the implementation of the said policy in any manner, and none of them is or was even having any stake or interest in the liquor business in Delhi or in any other part of the country,” the judge noted in an order passed on July 22.

Citing the prosecution side, he said both the accused were also not suspected to have been a part of the South lobby’, which allegedly paid the above advance kickbacks to the co-accused Vijay Nair and Manish Sisodia or any other politician of AAP, in connection with the formulation of the policy or for insertion of any favourable clauses in the policy.

“The applicants are not connected with the flow of the bribe or kickback amount from South India to Delhi and admittedly, they are connected only with outflow thereof from Delhi to Goa in connection with election-related expenses of APP,” the judge noted.

It will be a matter of trial as to whether their acts can be considered a part of the criminal conspiracy in relation to the formulation or implementation of the policy, or that they received a bribe or kickback amount or proceeds of crime generated through this case, the judge said.

The judge further observed that both the accused were employees or associates of Rajesh Joshi, a co-accused in the case whose company — Chariot Productions Media Pvt. Ltd. – was given the advertising work of AAP in relation to assembly elections in Goa, or of other co-accused accused Vijay Nair or Mootha Gautham.

“It cannot also be ignored that though the applicants are alleged to be employees or associates of the accused Rajesh Joshi and Mootha Gautham, but these two accused Rajesh Joshi and Mootha Gautham have not even been arrested in this case by the CBI and charge sheets against both of them have been filed without arrest.

“Having a serious role in the commission of alleged offences and hence, the applicants even deserve parity in the matter of grant of bail with these two accused,” the judge said.

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The CBI had opposed the bail application, claiming that even though the accused were not a party to the formulation of excise policy or they were not involved in the liquor trade, they were found to be involved in the transfer of huge amounts of money from Delhi to Goa, out of the kickbacks and towards payment of election expenses of AAP in assembly elections of Goa.

According to the CBI, Rs 44.54 crore was sent from Delhi to Goa through Hawala channels during the period from June 21, 2021 to January 10, 2022 and both the accused were involved in its illegal transfer and were related to the money trail of the case.

The excise policy was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor subsequently recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities in its formulation and implementation involving government authorities, bureaucrats and liquor traders, among others.

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