Excise policy scam| “Benoy Babu is neck deep in conspiracy”: ED submits before Delhi High Court

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Binoy worked as a Regional Manager with a liquor company M/S Pernod Ricard and was arrested in November 2022 in connection with the excise policy scam case being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED).

During the hearing in the bail plea of Hyderabad-based businessman and accused in the Delhi Excise Policy case Benoy Babu on Thursday, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) told the Delhi High Court that, “He (Benoy Babu) is neck deep in the conspiracy. He has the requisite mens rea”.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Zoheb Hossain, on behalf of ED, contended, “Benoy Babu in Criminal Conspiracy was making IndoSpirits part of Pernod Richard India (PRI) for the wholesale business of liquors.”

“For proceeds of crime to be there, the property is to be derived directly or indirectly by any person as a result of criminal activity. Today the proceeds of crime are there. He was instrumental in appointing IndoSpirits as L1”, he added.

Hossain stated that Benoy Babu was not a mere bystander. “The main allegation is that he was playing a key role in giving L1 license to IndoSpirits through PRI on directions of Vijay Nair, who was the communication in-charge of the Aam Aadmi Party. There is no ground that he is not guilty".

Taking note of the submissions, the bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma posted the matter on further hearing next week.

Hossain had earlier contended that “he (Benoy Babu) played a singular key role in making sure that the wholesale of Pernod Richard goes to Indo Spirit to ensure advance kickbacks are assured. His role is so critical.” He had also contended, “He (Benoy Babu) is responsible for sending thousands of emails. I'll show that in due course. He was the only one directly in touch with Vijay Nair and go between persons with the South Group”.

“This is a case where, there has been large-scale destruction of evidence not only in the form of deletion of WhatsApp chats, deletion of emails, etc but also in the form of destruction and complete removal of mobile phones that were being operated, which we have devoted an entire chapter on. We will place that on record. Even trial court judge has taken note of that”, Hossain had submitted.

Referring to chats between Benoy Babu and Manoj Rai relating to policy-related documents, Hossain had contended that he (Benoy Babu) deleted the chats intentionally. He had contended that Babu was aware of the updates of the policy formulation, which he shared with other Pernod Ricard officials, which included sensitive information like recommendations of changes by the LG for final approval.

“This shows that he was hand in glove with the officials who were handling the draft of policy making. He (Benoy Babu) sends emails to people containing drafts of the policy. He was aware that it was sensitive information, as he is seen saying the same in one of the emails to his colleague”, he had submitted.

Notably, Babu moved the High Court on February 21, challenging the trial court’s order denying him bail. Binoy worked as a Regional Manager with a liquor company M/S Pernod Ricard and was arrested in November 2022 in connection with the case being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED).

It is also to be noted that on February 16, the Special Judge MK Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi denied bail to Babu, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Sameer Mahendru, and Sarath P Reddy. All of them were arrested by ED in the money laundering case related to the Delhi Liquor scam.

Case Title: Binoy Babu v. ED

Statue: The Code of Criminal Procedure; The Prevention of Money Laundering Act