PERNOD INDIA CAUGHT IN POLITICAL STORM AS OPPOSITION LEADER ARRESTED IN DELHI EXCISE CASE
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Aam Aadmi Party/Twitter
India's federal police arrested the deputy chief minister of Delhi city government, Manish Sisodia, on Sunday for alleged irregularities related to the liquor retail policy in the city. The arrest set off a political storm involving French drinks giant Pernod Ricard.
Sisodia, who is also the second-in-command of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), resigned all his ministerial posts on Tuesday.
His lawyer said he will remain in the custody of the state-run Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for five days for questioning, under orders from a Delhi court on Monday.
The CBI is investigating allegations that the Delhi city government’s decision to exit liquor retail in November 2021 has given unfair advantages to private retailers who had the backing of certain big player. The policy was abruptly reverted back last September upon CBI investigation.
India's financial crime agency, the Enforcement Directorate, is separately investigating the involvement of Pernod Ricard India in the case.
The agency has alleged Pernod India of providing USD24m in corporate guarantees to its banker, which then issued loans to retailers who were bidding for the privatised liquor shop licences.
The agency has also alleged Pernod India of conspiring to take control of the city’s liquor retails by swaying the city government to privatise liquor shops and illegally making profits of USD23 million by giving false costs information.
Pernod India’s international brands general manager, Benoy Babu, was arrested last November for his involvement in the case.
Sisodia and his party have both denied wrongdoing and see the case as an attempt to smear opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of national elections ext year, in which Modi is seeking a third term.
"Manish (Sisodia) is innocent. His arrest is dirty politics," Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi's chief minister and head of AAP said in a tweet hours after Sisodia's arrest.
Sambit Patra, a spokesperson for BJP, which rules the federal government, denied allegations of political interference.
(the writer can be contacted at: email@example.com)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
**IF YOU THINK THE WINE CHRONICLE IS WORTH SUPPORTING, PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TO HELP US IMPROVE AND CONTINUE OUR WORK**
TRENDING│ FOCUS│ MISSION│ ABOUT US│ CONTACT