Delhi liquor policy case: CBI detains ED official for taking bribe from bizman

Delhi liquor policy case: CBI detains ED official for taking bribe from bizman

New Delhi, Aug 29: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday detained Enforcement Directorate (ED) official Pawan Khatri, accused of receiving bribes totaling Rs 5 crore from businessman Amandeep Singh Dhall, who is allegedly involved in the Delhi excise policy case.

Khatri, who is an Assistant Director within the ED, was one of two officials mentioned in the bribery complaint filed by the probe agency.

Sources claimed that the accused had planned to extort about Rs 30 crore from the the liquor businessman on the pretext of helping him in the matter.

A senior CBI official stated that they received a written complaint from the ED's Special Director (HIU-II) Sonia Narang against Assistant Director Khatri, UDC Nitesh Kohar (all ED), Deepak Sangwan, Dhall, Dhall's father Birender Pal Singh, Vats, Claridges Hotels & Resorts CEO Vikramaditya and other unknown individuals.

The FIR alleges that from the recorded statements of various individuals, it was prima facie revealed that Dhall, who has been arrested by both the ED and the CBI in the excise policy case and his father) gave Rs 5 crore (initially Rs 3 crore in the months of December 2022-January 2023 and then Rs. 2 crore) to Vats to arrange assistance in dealing with the ongoing investigation by the ED into the liquor case.

"Vats said in his statement that Sangwan, who works as Assistant General Manager, Air India, assured him that he could provide help for Dhall in the ED's liquor scam case (by preventing his arrest) in exchange for a sum of money. Sangwan introduced him to Khatri in December 2022. Based on Sangwan's assurance, Vats received Rs 3 crore from Dhall in six installments of Rs 50 lakh each between December 2022 and January 2023," as per the FIR.

The FIR further mentioned that Sangwan proposed that Dhall could be removed from the list of accused in the case for an additional amount of Rs 2 crore. Vats communicated this to Dhall, who agreed.

Vats then received an additional Rs 2 crore from him in four installments of Rs 50 lakh each.

All payments from Dhall were received by Vats at his home, and the cash was always sent through a representative of Dhall, whose name Vats doesn't know.

"Vats stated that out of the amount received from Birender Pal Singh and Dhall, he gave Rs 50 lakhs to Sangwan and Khatri in mid-December 2022 in cash at a parking place located just behind ITC Hotel in Vasant Vihar. Subsequently, Dhall was arrested by the ED. Vats further stated that he contacted Sangwan about this, and they met in March 2023 in Vasant Vihar. Sangwan informed Vats that the orders for Dhall's arrest had come from higher authorities," the FIR read.

In his statement, Sangwan mentioned that he learned in June 2023 that Vats had extorted a significant amount of money from Birender Pal Singh. Vats, in his statement, said that Sangwan called him for a meeting at Janpath, where discussions about returning the amount (taken by Vats from Dhall) took place.

Further meetings also occurred at various locations. Khatri and Kohar were also present during some of these meetings. The FIR states that Vats admitted in his statement that in 2023, he brought Rs 1 crore and handed it over to Birender Pal Singh. Khatri was also present during this meeting.

The senior officer leading the investigation of the alleged excise policy scam at the ED discovered evidence of certain officials within the organisation accepting bribes. In response, the ED initiated an inquiry and subsequently conducted searches at the residences of the individuals involved in the case, including those suspected of being within the probe agency.

During the searches, the team uncovered Rs 2.19 crore in cash and diamond jewellery valued at Rs 1.94 crore at Vats's residence. Additionally, Rs 2.62 crore was found in his bank account. The ED also confiscated two luxury cars from Vats's home.

The probe agency further seized proof from the residences of the other individuals implicated in the case, including the ED officials.

(The content of this article is sourced from a news agency and has not been edited by the ap7am team.)

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