Excise policy scam: Bizman Arun Pillai’s ED custody extended by 3 days

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Monday extended Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody by three days in the excise policy case.

He was arrested on March 6 after hours of questioning in the case.

Special judge M. K. Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Courts sent Pillai to ED custody on March 7, which expired on Monday.

The judge, dealing with the matter, extended his custody on Monday.

On March 10, Pillai moved an application before the same court seeking to retract his statements given to the probe agency in the case. This led to the court issuing a notice to the ED.

His arrest makes up for the 11th arrest made in the matter by the ED.

The ED has alleged that Pillai was involved in forming a cartel (now called South group) of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers which controlled more than 30 percent of the liquor business in the national capital.

The central agency named the said cartel, South group, which includes BRS leader K. Kavitha, Sarath Reddy, the promoter of Aurobindo Pharma, YSRCP MP from Ongole, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta and others.

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The South group was represented by Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpalli, and Butchi Babu, the agency has claimed.

Pillai is a partner in Indo Spirits with a 32.5 percent stake and he represented K. Kavitha’s interest, said the ED.

Pillai and another person have revealed the same in their statements. Pillai on paper invested Rs 3.40 crore in Indo Spirits.

As revealed in the investigation, of this amount, Rs 1 crore was given to Pillai on the instructions of Kavitha.

In exchange for kickbacks given by the South Group to Vijay Nair and AAP, Indo Spirits was made the wholesaler of Pernod Ricard which made it one of the most profitable L1.

Thus the fund of Rs 3.40 crore which used to show investment in Indo Spirits (a special purpose vehicle to recoup the kickbacks paid by the South Group and channel the illegal gains) is proceeds of crime, the ED added.

Kavitha is a member of the Telangana Legislative Council.