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April 24, 2024

Who Is Vijay Nair, Delhi Liquorgate Accused Kejriwal Claims ‘Reports to Atishi’ As Per ED?

Vijay Nair (extreme left), with Arvind Kejriwal. (Twitter/@indiantweeter)

Vijay Nair (extreme left), with Arvind Kejriwal. (Twitter/@indiantweeter)

Vijay Nair, who oversaw the Aam Aadmi Party’s election campaign, was among those arrested during the early stages of the investigation into the now-scrapped excise policy case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday informed the Rouse Avenue Court that Delhi CM and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal told the central agency that Vijay Nair, a key figure in the excise policy scam, reported to party MLA Atishi Marlena and not him.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the ED, stated that Kejriwal informed the agency, “Vijay Nair does not report to me, but to Atishi.” Kejriwal also mentioned Saurabh Bharadwaj and indicated that his contact with Nair was limited, according to the agency.

The central agency pointed out that Kejriwal did not clarify why Nair, who was a significant accused before turning into a government witness, had numerous meetings with other accused individuals involved in the liquor business. The directorate stated that Kejriwal avoided answering this and other questions.

The agency said Kejriwal had failed to explain why Nair, who was also a key accused till he became a government witness, had “more than 10 meetings…with co-accused persons involved in the liquor business”. The AAP chief “evaded” this and other questions, said the directorate.

“His behavior was uncooperative. He refuses to provide his phone and is misleading the investigation by giving unclear responses,” ASG Raju stated.

Vijay Nair, who oversaw the Aam Aadmi Party’s election campaign, was among those arrested during the early stages of the investigation into the now-scrapped excise policy case.

Nair has been in custody since November 2022 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Although he obtained regular bail in the CBI case, he remained in custody for the ED case until he was granted interim bail on medical grounds in January of this year. He is currently in jail.

Who is Vijay Nair and His Role in AAP

In the early 2000s, Nair, a college dropout, rose to fame as a band manager for popular indie music acts like Pentagram. He founded Mumbai-based company Only Much Louder (OML) in 2002 and assumed the role of CEO. OML gained recognition for organising live music festivals, notably the NH7 Weekender, which became the largest live indie music festival in the country. By 2014, OML’s net worth was reportedly estimated at US$ 10 million.

Nair began working with AAP in 2014, focusing on social media management, event planning, and communications. He rose to prominence during Delhi Assembly elections in 2020, managing communication for Kejriwal’s campaign.

His presence magnified in the run up to Delhi Assembly elections when he started managing the communication aspect of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign, a party leader told The Indian Express.

A former AAP member who worked with Nair told The Print, ‘Nair could easily secure many artists for fundraising events, which greatly benefited the party.’ Another member mentioned, “This strategy was entirely Vijay Nair’s idea.”

#MeToo Allegations

In November 2018, during the #MeToo movement, Nair faced allegations of sexual misconduct, with women accusing him of creating an unsafe work environment at OML.

The Caravan published an investigative report on allegations of sexual misconduct against Nair. This claimed that Nair created an unsafe environment for female employees in OML, and that he acted “brazenly and with impunity” at his position as the CEO.

According to The Caravan, “he asked a woman to get into a bathtub with him and told another at 2 am that he needed a massage.” He has also sent explicit messages to a woman, without her consent, the report said.

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