K Kavitha, Bharath Rashtra Party (BRS) leader and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday in connection with the money laundering probe in an excise police case.
Kavitha, who is also an MLC was summoned by ED to appear on March 9 in connection with the case, just a day before her planned day-long hunger strike over the Women’s Reservation Bill in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on March 10.
Following the ED summons, Kavitha, whose name was found mentioned in the ED chargesheet, in a statement to the media on Wednesday said that as a “law-abiding citizen”, she would “fully cooperate” with the investigation.
“However, due to the Dharna and prefixed appointments, I’ll seek legal opinions on the date of attending it,” she said.
She further said that “I would like the ruling party at the Centre to know that these tactics of intimidation against the fight and voice of our leader, CM KCR, and against the entire BRS party will not deter us”.
The ED had arrested Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai, one of the prime suspects in the alleged now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy scam, represented the “benami investments” of Kavitha.
In its remand report filed the ED alleged that Pillai had represented Kavitha’s “benami interests” in a firm in which he’s a partner.
In its latest remand application, the ED called Pillai one of the key suspects in the case, alleging that he was “instrumental in creating a cartel to recover the money paid in kickbacks”.
The ED further alleged that Pillai was a key person to the case, and that he and others created a “manufacturer-wholesale-retailers” nexus.
“One of the major objectives of the excise policy was to not allow (the) formation of any monopoly or cartel and to allow the responsible players in the industry to carry out trade transparently without resorting to any proxy model,” the ED told the court.
The ED further claimed that Pillai is a partner in a firm called ‘Indospirits’, which obtained an “L-1” — a license for wholesale distribution.
According to ED, Pillai owns 32.5 percent of the firm and represented Kavitha’s “interests” in it.
The ED claims that in exchange for the kickbacks, Indospirits was made one of the most profitable wholesalers in Delhi. It also claims that the policy was manipulated to increase the profit margin for wholesalers so half of it can be extracted as kickbacks.
“Pillai and (another) represented (the) benami investments of Kavitha and Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSRCP MP) and his son Raghava Magunta Reddy,” ED informed the court.
“Pillai, along with his associates Abhishek Boinpally and Buchi Babu, on behalf of the South Group, orchestrated the whole scheme of forming a cartel of the manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers who controlled more than 30 percent of the whole liquor business in Delhi,” it said.
“In the partnership (Indospirits) firm, Arun represents the interests of Kavitha, Arun Pillai, and others have revealed in the statement. He (Arun Pillai) on paper invested 3.40 crore rupees in Indospirits. As revealed in the investigation, out of this amount, 1 crore rupees was given to Arun Pillai on instructions of Kavitha,” it said.
Meanwhile, Manish Sisodia, who was arrested on February 26 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was sent to judicial custody by a Court here till March 20.
Earlier, the ED had filed two chargesheets in the case, however, it has not named Sisodia as accused in it.
Sisodia, who handled 18 portfolios earlier, has been listed as accused number 1 in a chargesheet filed by the CBI in the liquor policy case.
He was arrested on the grounds of non-cooperation and giving evasive replies.
CBI filed a case on August 17, last year, in response to a complaint filed by Lieutenant Governor Vinai Saxena.
Apart from Sisodia, the agency has named his close aide Vijay Nair, who is also the former CEO of Mumbai-based entertainment and event management company Only Much Louder, besides 13 private people across Lucknow, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, and Karnataka, which include liquor firms Brindco and Indospirit.
Last year, the ED filed its first charge sheet in the excise policy money laundering case against five persons – Mahendru, Khao Gali Restaurants Pvt Ltd, Indospirits, Bubbly Beverages Pvt Ltd, IndoSpirits Distribution Limited – before a Delhi court. The court took cognizance of the ED charge sheet on December 22.
Last month, ED arrested Magunta Raghava Reddy, son of YSR Congress Party MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Gautham Malhotra, and Chariot Media owner Rajesh Joshi.
The CBI also questioned K Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in connection with the case.
Till now ED has arrested 11 people in connection with the case.