Delhi excise scam: Court grants 5-day custody parole to accused Arun Pillai

The ED alleged that Pillai represented the "South Group" in meetings with other accused when the excise policy was being formulated and implemented.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday granted five-day custody parole to Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, arrested in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise scam, on ground of his wife’s medical condition.

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Special Judge M K Nagpal granted the relief on the accused’s application claiming that his wife was required to undergo surgery.

The judge noted that during the course of arguments, advocate Nitesh Rana, appearing for the accused, had confined his request for grant of custody parole to the accused for few days “so that he can be physically present with his wife for her moral support for undergoing the above procedures”.

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The ED had claimed that he is a close aide of BRS MLC and former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha and an alleged frontman of the liquor cartel – “South Group” – that paid kickbacks amounting to about Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

“This application for grant of interim bail is being disposed of with directions that the accused shall be taken to his hometown at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh under adequate security arrangements by air or by train on a date requested by him and he shall be permitted to remain at his house or in hospital, as the case may be required, for a period of 5 days, excluding the travel time between Delhi to Hyderabad, and he shall also be permitted to accompany his wife for undergoing all the tests, procedures or processes at the concerned hospital within the said time,” the judge said.

The judge also made clear that the applicant shall be liable to bear all the expenses of his journey and also the expenses which he may be incurred in his security, including the expenses of stay arrangements of security officials.

The judge said that it will be the duty of the jail authorities concerned to depute sufficient number of security officials with the accused to ensure that he does not abscond from custody and is safely brought back to the jail.

“It is also being directed that the security officials deputed with the accused shall be in plain clothes and not in official uniform,” the judge said.

He directed the accused not to tamper or attempt to tamper with evidence or try to influence the witnesses of the case in any manner.

“He shall not interact with any media person in any manner; he shall not meet anybody except members of his family and further, he shall also not have any access to the phone or internet during the above said visit,” the judge said.

During the arguments, the ED had opposed the application, claiming that there were other family members of the accused, who could take care of his wife.

Pillai was arrested by the ED on March 6. The agency said Pillai was a close associate of Kavita.

The ED alleged that Pillai represented the “South Group” in meetings with other accused when the excise policy was being formulated and implemented.

The excise policy was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor subsequently asked the CBI to probe the alleged irregularities and corruption involving government authorities, bureaucrats and liquor traders, among others.

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