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Delhi excise scam: HC denies bail to Mahendru in money laundering case

Mahendru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 28, 2022, in the money laundering case

Gavel, Law & Order

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The Delhi High Court has denied bail to liquor businessman Sameer Manendru in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, saying his right to healthcare cannot be allowed to overshadow the pressing need to investigate fairly.
The high court observed that Mahendru, whose one of the grounds for seeking bail was his bad medical condition, was not suffering from any life threatening condition or sickness or infirmity which involves danger to his life and for which treatment cannot be provided to the applicant in jail.
While the applicant's right to healthcare and medical treatment is a fundamental consideration, it cannot be allowed to overshadow the pressing need to investigate fairly and ensure that due legal processes are followed, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said.
Mahendru was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 28, 2022, in the money laundering case.
The high court said the allegations against the businessman were that he was one of the main conspirators and a key player in the formulation of the excise policy and its exploitation later, and was also involved in the formulation of a super cartel between the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
It noted that Mahendru had allegedly earned huge profits of around Rs 192 crore against meagre investment of Rs 15 crore in his firm M/s Indo Spirits which is the proceeds of crime.
As regards the conduct of the applicant, it is the case of the respondent (ED) that the applicant had not cooperated during the investigation and had not provided the relevant details, and on his behest, his counsel had also made attempts to influence the witnesses, who were the employees of applicant, who had been called for investigation by the respondent. The applicant had allegedly also destroyed the evidence, that is, his mobile phone at least four times at the time of the alleged scam being exposed in public, the high court noted.
The accused claimed that he was suffering from various medical issues, including back and knee problems for which he has undergone surgeries. He was granted interim bail on several occasions on medical grounds.
The prosecution has accused Mahendru of being one of the major beneficiaries of the violations in the excise policy as he was not only running an alcoholic beverage manufacturing unit but also given a wholesale licence along with some retail licences in the name of his relatives in violation of the norms.
The money laundering case stems from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR.
According to the CBI and the ED, the alleged irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy, and undue favours were extended to licence holders. The Delhi government implemented the policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
Former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is also an accused in the case.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 20 2023 | 7:53 PM IST

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