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Delhi Liquorgate Scam: Know What Are Allegations, Who All Are The Accused And Action Taken

Many of AAP's leaders were on ED and CBI's radar, ever since the Delhi government's most ambitious Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was scrapped in July, last year. 

Delhi liquor policy

Delhi new excise policy case and allegations. (Image: PTI)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday arrested Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in connection with Delhi’s new liquor policy scam which was rolled back in the month of July 2022, by the Delhi government, amid a probe initiated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police over alleged financial anomalies resulting from the new liquor policy.

The CBI had summoned him on Sunday in connection with the alleged irregularities in the implementation and formulation of the new excise policy for the national capital. He was later arrested in connection by the CBI, on the charges leveled against him, after he was grilled for over 7 hours by the investigating agency.

Many of the AAP leaders, Delhi Ministers and their close aides were on the radar of the investigating agency including the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), ever since the Delhi government's most ambitious Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was scrapped in July, last year. 

The Chief Secretary, Delhi pointed out several procedural lapses

Let us know everything about the liquorgate scam case and the allegations. 

Delhi LG recommended CBI probe

The new excise policy was implemented in Delhi from November 17, 2021, onwards by the AAP government. However, the old excise regime took re-birth as the government decided to roll back the new liquor policy just within 9 months of its implementation, following allegations of violations of rules and procedural flaws in the implementation of the new policy and the recommendation of a CBI probe by Delhi LG VK Saxena on July 22, 2022.  

The recommendation from the LG came up after a report of the Chief Secretary (CS) of Delhi surfaced, wherein allegations of providing gross violations and undue benefits to the liquor licensees were made. The CS pointed out several procedural lapses in the context of the new excise policy.

Considering the allegations of irregularities in the new excise policy, the ED and CBI started investigations and carried out multiple searches at various places in the country. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia was made an accused by the CBI along with 14 other people. 

Additionally, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated a money laundering probe into the framing and execution of the AAP government's excise policy.


As per the report submitted by the Delhi CS to the LG and CM Arvind Kejriwal on July 8, it was stated that the approval of a waiver to the tune of Rs 144.36 crore on tendered licence fee citing pandemic effect, without the authorisation of the LG. Also, an import pass fee of Rs 50 per beer case was waived which resulted in huge losses for the excise department while profiting the licensees. 

According to the rules, any changes have to be approved by the LG after the approval of the cabinet, otherwise, the changes will be deemed illegal. The complaint was earlier forwarded to the Delhi Police's EOW, and an investigation was initiated. Further, the investigation was handed over to the CBI.

What is there in FIR?

According to the reports, the FIR registered by the CBI in the new liquor policy scam states that Manish Sisodia in connivance with some other public servants took decisions pertaining to the excise policy 2021-22 without the approval of competent authority with the intention to extend undue favours to the licensees post tender. The licence holders were allegedly given extensions according to their own will. 

According to the FIR, at least two payments in crores were allegedly made to the close associates of Manish Sisodia by the owner of Indospirit, Sameer Mahendru. He is one of the liquor traders accused of being involved in the irregularities in the framing and implementation of the new excise policy.

It was also alleged that Deputy CM's close aides were actively involved in managing and diverting the funds collected from liquor licensees for the accused involved in the case. In the FIR it is mentioned that Sisodia’s close aides had collected around Rs 4-5 crores in the two payments. The FIR was lodged under sections 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) and 477-A (Falsification of accounts) of the IPC.

As per the FIR, apart from Sisodia, the CBI had mentioned the then Commissioner, Excise, Arva Gopi Krishna, the then Deputy Commissioner, Excise, Anand Tiwari, then Assistant Commissioner (Excise), Pankaj Bhatnagar, entertainment and event management company Only Much Louder former CEO Vijay Nair, Manoj Rai, Amandeep Dhal, Indospirit Group Managing Director Sameer Mahendru, Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd Director Amit Arora, Mahadev Liquors’ authorised signatory Sunny Marwah, three private persons Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Arjun Pandey, and Dinesh Arora and two private firms, Buddy Retail Pvt Ltd, and Mahadev Liquors.

New Excise Policy 2021-22

Reportedly, the policy was formed on the basis of an expert committee report and was implemented from November 17, 2021, onwards. As many as 849 liquor vends were reportedly sanctioned to private entities through open bidding, under the new policy, wherein the city was divided into 32 zones with a maximum of 27 vends in each zone. 

It was said that the new liquor policy was implemented in a bid to increase government revenues, deal with the liquor mafia and to end black marketing. Earlier, 60% of vends were government and 40% were private.

One of the highlights of the new policy was that the licensees were allowed by the government to determine their own prices, regardless of the MRP, in order to attract more and more customers and increase trade. 

Incidentally, 11 out of the 32 zonal liquor retailers had surrendered their licenses citing unviable business because of lower revenue and unfair competition.

Look Out Circular to Sisodia during the investigation

After the registration of an FIR on August 19, 2022, naming 15 persons including Sisodia, a probe was started by the agency. Various raids and searches were carried out by the investigating agency including Manish Sisodia's official residence in Delhi. A Look Out Circular (LOC) was also issued in the case to Sisodia. 

The ED on August 20, last year filed a money laundering case revolving around excise policy. 

The ED questioned Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain lodged in Tihar jail, on September 16, 2022, in the money laundering allegations, after the Delhi court's permission. The ED further summoned AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak. 

CBI made the first arrest as Vijay Nair

After a long probe, the CBI made its first arrest in the case, when AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair was nabbed. It was followed by the arrest of Delhi-based businessman Sameer Mahendru by ED in the case in September  2022.

It was alleged that Mahendru transferred around Rs 1 crore to the account of Radha Industries, which is reportedly owned by Dinesh Arora, a close aide of Manish Sisodia. Further, Mahendru, on behalf of Vijay Nair, an accused in the CBI’s FIR, allegedly paid around Rs 2 to Rs 4 crore to another associate of Sisodia.

There are allegations that Arun Ramchandra Pillai, resident of Kokapet in Hyderabad, used to collect undue pecuniary advantage from Mahendru for onward transmission to accused public servant Vijay Nair.

In October last year, the ED carried out massive search operations at various locations in Delhi-NCR, Punjab, and Telangana. During the investigation, the CBI arrested Hyderabad-based Abhishek Boinpally in the same month. Boinpally’s name cropped up during the course of the investigation. He was called to join the investigation in Delhi, but he reportedly was not cooperating in the questioning and was allegedly trying to mislead the CBI.

ED and CBI continued their search operations and data monitoring to catch big fish in the case. 

On November 25, 2022, the CBI filed its first charge sheet against seven people, without naming Sisodia in it. This was followed by the investigating agency arresting Hyderabad-based Chartered Accountant Butchi Babu Gorantla on February 8, 2022. 

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