Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Delhi liquor scam :ED grills Kavitha for 9 hours

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Asks for her mobile phone

Collects her personal and financial information

Destruction of phones figures during the questioning

Summoned to appear again on March 16 at Parivatran Bhavan

Kavitha, KTR, Harish & other BRS leaders return to Hyd

NAVEENA GHANATE
Hyderabad

Telangana Chief Minister’s daughter and Bharat Rashtra Samiti leader K Kavitha was grilled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for nine hours on Saturday in connection with a money laundering case linked to the alleged irregularities in the Delhi liquor excise policy scam.

44-year-old Kavitha, who will celebrate her birthday on Monday, left the ED office on APJ Abdul Kalam Road in Delhi around 8:00 pm, after the agency recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).She had come to the ED office from her father KCR’s official residence on Tughlak Road, located about 1.5 km away, around 11 am. Upon arrival at the ED headquarters, she obtained an entry pass and raised a clenched fist before entering theoffice. Members of her staff and legal team, who had accompanied her, reportedly stayed outside.

The BRS leader, an MLC, has been summoned to appear again on March 16 in connection with the case.While questioning Kavitha on Saturday, the ED asked for her mobile phone, which she had kept at her residence. Her security personnel then went home, brought the phone,and submitted it to the ED authorities.The ED authorities reportedly collected Kavitha’s personal and financial information. They reportedly questioned her about the destruction of phones. She was asked about her WhatsApp messages and interactions with her CA Gorantla ButchiBabu.

During the questioning, she was allegedly confronted by an arrested accused, Arun Ramchandra Pillai, who is also her associate.There was a heavy presence of Delhi Police and central paramilitary forces personnel in and around the ED office.Barricades had been placed outside the ED office as the supporters of the BRS leader staged a protest. 

After leaving the ED office, Kavitha reached the Telangana CM’s residence where she was welcomed with aarti by party workers and supporters.It is alleged that the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the ruling AAP.

The policy was subsequently scrapped, and the Delhi Lieutenant Governor recommended a CBI probe, following which the ED registered a case under the PMLA.In two complaints, the ED has claimed that members of an entity called ‘the South Group’had paid bribes to exploit loopholes in the excise policy to secure uninhibited access to wholesale businesses and retail zones in violation of rules.

The ED has alleged that Kavitha is a prominent member of the South Group, which includes Raghav Magunta, son of MaguntaSreenivasulu Reddy, YSRCP Lok Sabha MP from Ongole in Andhra Pradesh; and P Sarath Chandra Reddy, son of P V Ramprasad Reddy, founder of Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma.

The ED informed a Delhi court that it had a statement from Butchibabu Gorantla, Hyderabad-based chartered accountant and an accused in the case, that “there was a political understanding between K Kavitha and the Deputy CM. “

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