Delhi liquor scam: AAP demands BJP apology as Court says no incriminating evidence
The Delhi High Court granted a regular bail to Penaka Sarath Chandra Reddy, Director of Aurobindo Pharma Private Limited, in the Delhi liquor policy scam case
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday granted a regular bail to Penaka Sarath Chandra Reddy, Director of Aurobindo Pharma Private Limited, in the Delhi liquor policy scam case.
Sarath Chandra Reddy, who was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on November 11, 2022, has been out on interim bail since November 26, 2022. A Delhi court granted him a 14-day interim bail following the death of his grandmother Penaka Lakshmi Narayanamma in Hyderabad, to enable him to attend the last rites.
His interim bail was subsequently extended further. Sarath Chandra Reddy later approached the Delhi High Court for a regular bail, citing ill-health of his wife. Agreeing to the request, the Delhi High Court on Monday granted him the regular bail, thus providing the Hyderabad-based businessman relief from incarceration.
The ED had arrested him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and described him in its chargesheet as the ‘kingpin’ in the alleged bribery aimed at influencing the Delhi government’s liquor policy.
AAP seeks BJP’s apology after Delhi court’s observations in liquor scam case
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is under fire in the wake of the Delhi liquor policy scam case, has demanded an unconditional apology from all the BJP leaders following the Delhi Rouse Avenue Court’s observations with regard to the evidence in the case.
AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Education Minister Atishi Singh aka Atishi Marlena separately claimed that the court’s ruling vindicated their honesty and innocence in the case.
They referred to the court’s observations that both the CBI and the ED failed to furnish specific evidence on the alleged exchange of bribes and kickbacks in the case.
“The BJP leaders, in the last one year, have been addressing a host of press meets to float their accusations of a liquor scam under the AAP government in Delhi. Incidentally, the same accusations have reflected in the chargesheets of the CBI and the ED. Both the agencies have been investigating the case for over six months now. More than 500 officials of the two agencies are in mission mode to probe the charges. The AAP government was charged with receiving more than Rs 100 crores of kickbacks for altering the liquor policy.
“The BJP leaders, time and again maintained in their hundreds of press conferences, that the Aam Aadmi Party spent these Rs 100 crores for the Goa Assembly elections. The Rouse Avenue Court, the other day, granted bail to two of the accused Rajesh Joshi and Gautham Malhotra, stating that both the CBI and the ED failed to present any evidence even for one paise in the case. I hope the BJP leaders would have carefully gone through the 85-page bail order of the court.
“The court categorically stated that there was no evidence on the charges of bribery and kickbacks. It ruled that, based merely on the witness accounts, it could not be construed as payment of kickbacks. The origin of the so-called Rs 100-crore kickbacks were not mentioned in the chargesheet. First, they claimed it was Rs 100 crores and now they maintain, it is Rs 30 crores and too, not backed by any evidence. It was claimed that these kickbacks were received in Delhi before they were redirected to Goa. The court made it clear that no evidence was furnished to establish the transfer of the money either through digital mode or a hawala operator. Furthermore, the court observed that the agencies failed to independently gather any evidence in this regard. The officials of the ED and the CBI camped in Goa for the last six months. Finally, it was declared that AAP only spent Rs 19 lakh in Goa elections,” Kejriwal and Atishi said.
The AAP leaders claimed that the investigating agencies themselves had established the honesty of their party and demanded that the BJP leaders, who had been making a hue and cry, should publicly tender their apology for their acts of mud-slinging to tarnish their image. The two AAP leaders claimed that the CBI and ED chargesheets were being prepared in the Prime Minister’s Office and pressure was being mounted on the probe officials to find evidence for those charges.
Arvind Kejriwal and Atishi claimed that there was no liquor scam in the first place which was nothing but a figment of the creation of the BJP leaders. Demanding an unconditional apology from the Prime Minister and the BJP leaders, the two leaders also maintained that the agencies failed to submit evidence even against their leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.