The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted another round of raids at 35 locations in Delhi, Punjab and Hyderabad as part of its money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the Delhi liquor policy that has now been scrapped, PTI reported, citing officials.
Premises linked to liquor companies, distributors and individuals involved in supply networks are being raided, according to NDTV. Last month, the central agency had conducted two rounds of searches in the case. More than 100 locations have been raided so far.
The money laundering case stems from a case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in August. The CBI has booked Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 14 other persons on charges of irregularities in the new liquor policy. Two weeks later, the CBI had also raided premises linked to the Aam Aadmi Party leader and other accused persons.
Under the new policy, which was implemented in Delhi on November 17, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. However, on July 30, the Delhi government withdrew the policy after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into it by the CBI.
On September 1, Delhi reverted to its old liquor policy, under which only state-run stores are allowed to operate.
On Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal criticised the raids describing them as “dirty politics”. He claimed that more than 500 raids had been carried out to find evidence against Sisodia, but to no avail.
So far, the Enforcement Directorate has arrested Sameer Mahendru in its money laundering investigation, according to NDTV. Meanwhile, the CBI has arrested businessman Vijay Nair, who is in charge of the communication desk in the Aam Aadmi Party.