BRS leader K Kavitha
BRS leader K Kavitha

Excise 'scam': CBI, ED oppose Kavitha's bail pleas, say powerful enough to influence witnesses

After hearing the arguments of the counsel for ED,CBI and Kavitha, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved the orders on her bail applications.

NEW DELHI: The CBI and the ED on Tuesday opposed in the Delhi High Court the bail pleas of BRS leader K Kavitha in the corruption and money laundering cases linked to the alleged excise policy scam, saying she was "highly influential and powerful" to influence the witnesses.

Countering the submission made on behalf of Kavitha that she, being a woman, be released on bail, the probe agencies contended she played a key role in the conspiracy behind the "scam" and, being an active politician and a member of the Telangana legislative council, she cannot seek parity with "vulnerable" women.

After hearing the arguments of the counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Kavitha, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved the orders on her bail applications.

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During the hearing, CBI's counsel argued that Kavitha was "not just a woman but a very influential woman and was powerful enough" to influence witnesses one of whom has even claimed she threatened him.

The ED's counsel also contended that Kavitha was a co-conspirator and a beneficiary of the excise "scam" and the proceeds of crime were directly going to her.

The counsel claimed that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader, who was accused of a white collar crime, was involved in destruction of evidence and coercing people to retract from their statements.

The ED, in its reply to Kavitha's bail application, has claimed her release would adversely affect further investigation to unearth the "deep-rooted, multi-layered conspiracy".

It has contended that the Telangana lawmaker is a "highly influential" individual and stands accused of having committed a grave economic offence.

K Kavitha has conspired with other people and actively involved in payment of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore and then in establishing the money laundering ecosystem, that is, M/s Indo Spirits through her proxy which generated proceeds of crime of Rs 192.8 crore.

By such acts, K Kavitha is involved in various processes and activities relating to proceeds of crime (POC) to the tune of Rs 292.8 crore,” the probe agency said in its counter affidavit.

Kavitha has challenged the trial court's May 6 order by which her bail applications in the CBI's corruption case as well as the ED's money laundering case were dismissed.

Her lawyer submitted that out of the 50 accused in the excise matter, she is the lone woman, and urged the court to consider granting her bail as law keeps women on a different pedestal.

Elaborating on the alleged role of Kavitha, the ED said the statements of co-accused Arun Ramchandran Pillai, her alleged associate, revealed that he represented her interests in M/s Indo Spirits which was formed as part of an understanding between AAP leaders and her that in exchange for payment of Rs 100 crore to the Delhi's ruling party she will get stakes in some wholesale companies.

“It is established that K Kavitha is the ultimate in-charge of the share of Arun Pillai in M/s Indo Spirits and was intrinsically involved in the conspiracy of policy formulation, conceptualisation of kickback scheme and the final profits generated/POC laundered through M/s Indo Spirits,” the ED has said.

Kavitha is in judicial custody in the two cases lodged by the ED and the CBI.

The "scam" pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 which was later scrapped.

The ED arrested Kavitha (46) from her Banjara Hills residence in Hyderabad on March 15.

The CBI arrested her from Tihar jail.

In her bail plea in the ED case, the BRS leader, daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, has asserted she has "nothing to do" with the excise policy and there is a criminal conspiracy against her "orchestrated by the ruling party at the Centre with the active connivance of the ED".

The New Indian Express