Dinesh Arora, CBI’s approver arrested in Delhi by ED in money laundering casetext_fields
New Delhi: Businessman Dinesh Arora, an accused who has been designated a prosecution witness in the same case being looked into by the CBI, was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday night in a significant arrest in the Delhi excise policy-related money laundering case.
After a protracted interrogation period, Arora was detained in accordance with the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). On Friday, the agency is anticipated to present him in front of a local court.
Dinesh Arora has been questioned by the ED earlier too.
But this time, he was evasive in his replies and was not cooperating with the agency following which he was arrested, sources said.
The businessman was allegedly a close associate of Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who is also an accused in the excise policy case and has been arrested by the ED as well as the CBI.
The ED, in a supplementary charge sheet, has accused Sisodia of receiving bribes from Amit Arora, another businessman also an accused in the case, through Dinesh Arora. The federal probe agency has described this bribe amount as “proceeds of crime” under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“As elaborated… Amit Arora paid Rs 2.2 crore to Manish Sisodia through Dinesh Arora for getting policy changes in his favour in the GoM report/excise policy 2021-22.
“This amount is directly a bribe/kickback to a government functionary and is proceeds of crime under section 2(1)(u) of PMLA, 2002. In this manner, Manish Sisodia participated in the generation of this proceeds of crime,” the ED said in its prosecution complaint filed in May.
Amit Arora is the promoter of liquor companies Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd, Popular Spirits and KSJM Spirits LLP.
A Delhi court had on November 16 last year allowed the CBI’s plea to make Dinesh Arora an approver in the case and pardoned him.
It is probably a rare or the first instance where an accused-turned-approver (prosecution witness) in the CBI investigation has been arrested by the ED while the two federal agencies probed the same case.
The ED’s money laundering case stems from the predicate offence registered by the CBI. If the CBI case falls, the money laundering case too will not stand, as per a Supreme Court order of last year where it issued a number of directives while interpreting PMLA provisions.
Dinesh Arora is the 13th arrest in this case by the ED in which the probe agency has filed five charge sheets, including against Sisodia.
The ED and the CBI have alleged that the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi has strongly refuted the charge.
The excise policy was scrapped after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the corruption allegation. Following this, the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
With PTI inputs