The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to start a money laundering probe against its assistant director, Pawan Khatri, and others in connection with allegedly taking ₹5 crore from a businessman, who is under investigation in Delhi excise policy scam, people familiar with the development said.
Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked Khatri, Nitesh Kohar, ED’s upper division clerk, chartered accountant (CA) Praveen Kumar Vats, Deepak Sangwan, assistant general manager (AGM) of an airline, head of the five-star hotel, Vikramaditya, and the concerned businessman, Amandeep Dhall who is director of Brindco Sales Pvt Ltd. Dhall was arrested by ED in the excise policy case in March. The CBI acted on a complaint sent by the ED on August 8.
It is alleged that Dhall paid ₹5 crore in bribe to Vats in tranches of ₹50 lakh from December 2022 onwards so that he is protected from arrest and not made an accused in the Delhi excise policy case.
“We will probe the case from money laundering aspect,” said an officer, who didn’t want to be named.
ED’s own enquiry so far has suggested that Khatri and Kohar were using the names of senior officials probing the liquor policy case to allegedly extort the bribes.
The agency may suspend the two officers once the CBI probe progresses. It may also write to the employers of two other accused – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for Vats and Air India for Sangwan – so that appropriate action can be taken against them under service rules, said the officer cited above.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demanded a probe into the involvement of officials in the liquor policy probe.
Speaking at a press conference, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Tuesday said, “We demand an inquiry into the participation of various officials in this matter and appeal to the Supreme Court to take cognizance of this case.”
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, however, said that the action against the ED officials reflects the central government’s zero-tolerance policy on corruption.