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‘South group’ were given 61% stake in Indo Spirits for recoverey of kickbacks: ED

By Atul Krishan
New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed in its supplementary chargesheet filed in the excise policy case of Delhi that ‘south group’ paid Rs 100 crore as kickback to Vijay Nair and to recover the same, partners of the ‘south group’ were given 65 per cent stake in Indo Spirits in collusion with accused Sameer Mahandru.

Apart from this, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia himself directed the excise commissioner to grant the licence on priority to Indospirit Marketing Pvt Ltd, the ED claimed.

“Kickbacks were given to AAP leaders through Vijay Nair. Against the kickbacks paid, the ‘south group’ secured uninhibited access, undue favours, attained stakes in established wholesale businesses and multiple retail zones (over and above what was allowed in the policy). In one of the ways to recover/recoup the kickbacks given by the ‘south group’, its partners were given 65 per cent stake in Indo Spirits in collusion with the accused Sameer Mahandru.

“The ‘south group’ controlled these stakes in Indospirit through false representation, concealment of true ownership and proxies, i.e., Arun Pillai and Prem Rahul. This partnership formation was directed by Vijay Nair on the assurance of giving the wholesale business of Pernod Ricard to Indo Spirits,” the chargesheet read.

The ED further alleged that the gravity and depth of this criminal conspiracy is such that to grant LI wholesale licence to Indospirits despite various complaints highlighting Sameer Mahandru and Indospirit Marketing Pvt Ltd’s role in cartelisation, when Mahandru submitted a fresh application in a different name of ‘Indo Spirits’, the Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, himself directed the excise commissioner to grant the licence on priority.

Pernod Ricard is one of the accused covered in the subject, who through Benoy Babu and others, in conspiracy with the super cartel and Nair, gave their wholesale business to Indo Spirits.

The Excise Policy 2021-22 required the manufacturers to register their brands at the lowest EDP net of all discount of any nature whatsoever. However, Pernod Ricard by way of conspiracy got their price fixed without deducting the discounts they offer thus getting a much higher price fixed for their brands and thus earning a huge additional profit which was ineligible to them and should have been passed to the consumers as lower MRP, the ED said.

If the manufacturer had registered the brands at actually lowest EDP, the capacity of the manufacturers to give out credit notes would have been limited. However, Pernod Ricard paid Rs 131.9 crore as credit notes to the retailers via the wholesalers, where the benefit of discounts was shifted to the retailers instead of the actual consumer at large.

(Atul Krishan can be approached at