Excise ‘scam’: HC asks ED to reply to Hyderabad bizman’s interim bail plea

Hyderabad Desk

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday, June 3, sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea by Hyderabad businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai, arrested in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi Excise scam, seeking interim bail on medical grounds.

A vacation bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued a notice to the ED and asked it to verify the medical reports placed on record by Pillai.

The court asked the agency to file a reply to the interim bail plea along with a verification report and listed it for further hearing on June 10.

Pillai, who was arrested by the ED in March last year, sought interim bail for eight weeks for medical reasons including back pain.

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In the petition, he claimed that the doctors at an ayurvedic clinic in Kerala had opined that he needed to be admitted there for a 21-day ‘Panchakarma Therapy’ with further bed rest of 21 days.

Pillai was arrested by the ED on March 6, 2023, following allegations that he represented the “South Group” at meetings with other accused when the 2021 excise policy was being formulated and implemented.

The South Group is allegedly a cartel of liquor businessmen and politicians who claimed to have paid Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to the ruling AAP dispensation for favours.

The excise policy was scrapped in 2022 after the Delhi lieutenant governor ordered a CBI probe into alleged irregularities and corruption involving its formulation and execution.

The ED has claimed that Pillai is a close aide of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, and the frontman for the South Group. Kavitha is also in custody in the case.

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