Who is P Sarath Chandra Reddy? Man who turns approver against AAP in Excise Policy case

P Sarath Chandra Reddy, a director at Aurobindo Pharma, faced arrest in connection with a money laundering case linked to Delhi's now-defunct excise policy.

Follow us:
Courtesy: X

New Delhi: Aurobindo Pharma, a leading pharmaceutical giant in India, has recently found itself entangled in a controversy surrounding the encashment of electoral bonds worth ₹5 crore by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Renowned for its global presence, Aurobindo Pharma boasts revenue exceeding ₹24,000 crore in 2023, primarily driven by its expansive international operations.

Arrest of Aurobindo Pharma Director

P Sarath Chandra Reddy, a director at Aurobindo Pharma, faced arrest in connection with a money laundering case linked to Delhi's now-defunct excise policy. Subsequently, on November 15, 2022, Aurobindo Pharma procured electoral bonds worth ₹5 crore, promptly encashed by the BJP on November 21, 2022. Despite his arrest, Reddy, now serving as a non-executive director, was granted pardon and allowed to become an approver in the case by a Delhi court in June the following year.

Electoral Bond acquisitions and BJP's share

Between April 2021 and November 2023, Aurobindo Pharma acquired electoral bonds totaling ₹52 crore. Notably, 66% of these bonds were encashed by the BJP, with the Telangana-based Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Andhra Pradesh-based Telugu Desam Party also benefitting. The contentious ₹5 crore purchase in November 2022, followed by another ₹25 crore in November 2023, raised significant questions, especially regarding the timing of encashment.

Allegations of kickbacks and unfair practices

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair facilitated kickbacks amounting to ₹100 crore from a group colloquially referred to as the "South Group." Reddy, implicated in the past, was purportedly part of this arrangement, with kickbacks aimed at securing preferential treatment, additional business stakes, and retail zones beyond permissible limits under existing policies.

The nexus between electoral bonds, corporate entities like Aurobindo Pharma, and political parties continues to draw scrutiny, highlighting the intricate dynamics of Indian politics and corporate influence. As investigations unfold, the controversy surrounding Aurobindo Pharma's electoral bond transactions underscores the need for greater transparency and accountability in political financing.