BRS leader Kavitha appears before ED to answer more questions in Delhi Excise scam
Amidst a caveat filed by the ED in response to her petition at the SC, Kavitha reached the ED office today in the wake of the agency reissuing her summon to appear before it today.
Published: 20th March 2023 11:34 AM | Last Updated: 21st March 2023 01:28 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: After skipping summons on March 16, BRS leader K Kavitha also the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, appeared before the Directorate of enforcement to face the second round of questioning by the agency sleuths probing her involvement in the Delhi Excise scam in which she is alleged to be a beneficiary of the tweaked policy which caused heavy losses to the Delhi Government
Kavitha who reported at the ED office around 10.30 am on Monday, had decided to stay away from appearing before the agency on March 16 citing that a petition challenging her questioning by the ED is pending before the Supreme Court. The apex court listed the matter for 24 but did not pass any interim order restricting the ED from questioning her.
Amidst a caveat filed by the ED in response to her petition at the SC, Kavitha reached the ED office today in the wake of the agency reissuing her summon to appear before it today. The ED in its caveat requested the SC to hear it’s submission on the petition Kavitha, before passing any order.
Though Kavitha appeared for the first round of questioning on March 11, after skipping the summon of March 9, she refused to show against the March 16 summons, and sent her authorised representative Soma Bharath (a BRS party office bearer) to ED office instead, who handed over the case a six-page representation against her deposition along with her bank statement, personal and business details to the investigating officer. Kavitha also wrote to the ED saying it must wait for the outcome of her plea before the Supreme Court challenging the summons and seeking protection from arrest. The apex court on Wednesday agreed to hear the plea on March 24.
Meanwhile, in the wake of Kavitha skipping the summon last Thursday, a special PMLA court extended the custodial remand of Arun Pillai, a key accused alleged to have close associations with Kavitha in connection with the case. The ED was to confront Kavitha with Pillai among other accused and witnesses in custody. Also, the custody of Delhi’s ex-deputy CM Manish Sisodia has been extended till march 20.
ED which had been recording statement of Kavitha since March 11 was to question her further on statement made by various accused of her being a key member of the South Group of liquor traders which allegedly paid an advance of Rs 100 crore to secure favourable tweaks in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 which was approved and implemented by ex-deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who was also the Excise Minister.
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The tweaks secured by South Group allegedly lead to massive cartelisation at multiple vending levels violating suggestions of the expert committee and also led to generation of windfall benefit to the liquor traders through increased commissions, parts of which was paid back allegedly to AAP through various middlemen. Delhi government exchequer meanwhile had suffered an alleged loss of Rs 2873 crores in the wake of this excise policy.
Kavitha’s involvement in the scam was alleged by various accused including accused Arun R Pillai the Hyderabad-based businessman and the representative of the South group of Liquor Traders, who was a direct beneficiary of the kickbacks from the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 scam and was also involved in affecting tweaks in the policy in collusion with the AAP’s points person Vijay Nair, that eventually benefitted politicians, middlemen, and liquor traders.
Pillai was the 32.5 percent owner of a business entity which was a major beneficiary of the Excise Policy scam and Kavitha was a major stakeholder in that entity as per disclosure made by Pillai.
Kavitha’s questioning was of importance in the investigation with Sisodia and Pillai being in ED remand currently amidst new evidence, disclosure and facts emerging in the case. Also it was important from the point of view of Butchi Babu, another close aide of Pillai, being questioned by the ED over a marathon session on March 15.
Pillai had moved an application seeking to retract from the statements made before ED during 2 sessions in November out of the total 11 sessions between September 2022 and March 2023, prior to his arrest on March 6 evening. Pillai has alleged that the statements were made under coercion.
ED has opposed his application filed by Pillai under Section 50 of the PMLA 2002 stating the statements are being recorded since September 2022 and it was quite absurd that the accused chose to retract from it after so many months. The ED submitted that given the circumstance and timing of the application for retractions, it's quite evident that the accused is under pressure to retract his statement made earlier. Pillai had moved the application on March 11 when Kavitha was summoned for questioning.