Delhi liquor scam: How alleged money trail led ED to Aurobindo Pharma MD

The arrest of Sharat Reddy in the Delhi liquor scam attained political significance due to his connection to YSRCP MP Vijaysai Reddy

Sharat Chandra Reddy

HYDERABAD: The arrest of Aurobindo Pharma Managing Director Sharat Chandra Reddy in the Delhi liquor scam attained instant political significance due to his close connection to influential YSRCP MP Vijaysai Reddy.

Sharat Reddy, as he is more familiar in his circles, is the elder brother of Rohit Reddy who is married to the daughter of the YSRCP key leader. Their father Ramrasad Reddy is the founder-chairman of Aurobindo Pharma.

Troubles for the pharma scion have started ever since the Central investigating agencies went full throttle on the Delhi liquor scam. Delhi Lieutenant Governor first stirred the hornet's nest when he ordered an investigation into the new, revised liquor policy of the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, prompting a full-scale probe by both the ED and the CBI.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Sharat Reddy and another person, Vinay Babu, on Thursday on money-laundering charges in connection with the alleged irregularities thriving on the tainted liquor policy, which the Delhi government scrapped subsequently. Sources in the ED claimed that Sharat Reddy played a key role in the cartelisation of liquor licences besides being instrumental in laundering the bribes received during the entire liquor licencing process.

The anti-money laundering watchdog has already grilled Sharat Reddy twice in the case where Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been named as the prime accused. The ED made the first arrest in the case on September 27 in the form of Vijay Nair, an AAP leader and CEO of media entertainment entity Only Much Louder (OML). The next one to be in the dock was Sameer Mahendru of Indospirit Group. Unrelenting in its crackdown, the ED was said to have recently collected a lot of incriminating evidence during its raids on the residence of Manish Sisodia's personal assistant Aurora.

Hyderabad-based Abhishek Boinpally was later arrested, based on information revealed by Vijay Nair during his questioning. Ramachandra Pillai, considered by the investigating agencies as key to unravelling the Delhi liquor scam, was also subsequently arrested. But the case took a dramatic turn after Manish Sisodia's PA decided to turn approver. It is believed that Sharat Reddy and Vinay Reddy were arrested on Thursday, based on the information provided by Aurora. The latest arrests come amid speculation that many more skeletons of the political kind were likely to tumble out of the cupboard in the case.

It is learnt that the ED was able to pick the money trail to establish that funds received as bribes from the Delhi liquor scam was rerouted through the firms managed by Abhishek Boinpally and Sharat Reddy and the same was used for the Aam Aadmi Party's electioneering in Punjab. It is also believed that the agency managed to collect damning evidence over the alleged transfer of money from a travel agency owned by the family of Sharatchandra Reddy, who is also a director in Trident Life Sciences Ltd, a group company of Aurobindo pharma.

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