Delhi Excise Policy Case: ED arrests Chariot Media owner Rajesh Joshi

According to ED, Joshi used to spend a huge amount of cash on behalf of AAP during last year’s Goa Assembly poll campaign

NEW DELHI | Updated: 09 February, 2023 5:45 pm IST
Rajesh Joshi

Tightening its noose in the now scrapped Delhi Excise Policy case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 9 arrested Rajesh Joshi.

Joshi is the owner of Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd, an advertising company, whose name was featured in ED’s supplementary charge sheet in the case. According to ED officials, Joshi was the beneficiary of money related to the excise policy case.

Joshi’s arrest came a day after the central financial probe agency arrested Gautam Malhotra, son of former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA and liquor baron Deep Malhotra. Malhotra is a close aide of Dinesh Arora, another accused in the case.

The ED alleged, in its supplementary charge sheet, that Joshi used to spend a huge amount of cash on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during last year’s Goa Assembly poll campaign.

The ED, in its supplementary charge sheet, which is seen by The New Indian, claimed that AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair and the AAP used the services of Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd to conduct their election campaign in Goa.

The ED said that Arora revealed that he used to give the note number and phone numbers, which were given to him by Abhishek Boinpally, to Joshi for making collection through Hawala transactions.

Arora has also mentioned that, once he handed over ₹1 crore in cash to Joshi’s house after collecting it from a hawala operator in Bengali Market, the ED said.

The ED further claimed that Joshi is an associate of Nair, who has been working with the AAP on various advertisement-related works and election campaigns.

“Joshi in conspiracy and connivance with Nair, Sudhir, Arora and others, collected cash to the tune of ₹30 crores and used part of this cash in the election campaign of the AAP in Goa,” the ED alleged.

The ED further said that Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd submitted lists of vendors engaged by them for event management purposes and advertisement purposes in Goa.

“The statements recorded of multiple of these vendors have revealed that they were asked to provide fake invoices, false invoices by undervaluing the actual value of goods and services that they provided to Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd,” ED said.

“After the examination of only a few entities it has been revealed that ₹70 lakh was paid in cash by Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd to these vendors and by Nair’s team to certain persons who provided volunteers for survey purposes,” the ED claimed.

The ED case is based on a CBI FIR filed on August 17, last year, in response to a complaint filed by Delhi Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

The CBI has named Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and a senior AAP leader, as the case’s first accused, along with his close aide Nair. The agency also named 13 private people across Lucknow, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Karnataka, which include liquor firms Brindco and Indospirit.

The CBI had carried out searches at several locations on August 19, including the premises of Sisodia. ED also carried out searches at over 169 locations in connection with the case.

The CBI in its FIR alleged that close associates of Sisodia were actively involved in “managing and diverting the undue pecuniary advantage” collected from liquor licenses to accused public servants.

Last year, the ED filed its first charge sheet in the excise policy money laundering case against five persons – Sameer Mahendru, Khao Gali Restaurants Pvt Ltd, Indospirits, Bubbly Beverages Pvt Ltd, IndoSpirits Distribution Limited before a Delhi court. The court took cognizance of the ED charge sheet on December 22.

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