Arun Pillai was Kavitha's benami, claims ED remand report
DECCAN CHRONICLE | MOULI MAREEDU
Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) which questioned and arrested Hyderabad-based businessman and Robin Distillers promoter Arun Ramachandran Pillai on Tuesday alleged in its remand report that he was a benami of BRS MLC and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K. Kavitha in the Delhi liquor scam case.
According to the report, Pillai is also a partner in Indospirit Group of Sameer Mahendru, who was arrested for his alleged role in the scam. Pillai has a 32.5 per cent stake in Indospirit, which has an L1 licence, while Prem Rahul also has a similar stake in the entity, the ED said.
The ED in its report stated that Rahul and Pillai were represented as benamis of Kavitha, AP YSRC MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and his son Magunta Raghava Reddy. Pillai represents Kavitha's business interests in the partnership firm, the ED stated.
The ED has so far arrested 11 people in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam probe. Manish Sisodia, the deputy CM of Delhi and a member of the Aam Aadmi Party, was the most recent to be arrested by the CBI last week. Gorantla Buchi Babu and Abhishek Boinpally, both chartered accountants from Hyderabad, were arrested in connection with the investigation.
"Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally, and Buchi Babu on behalf of South Group hatched the plan and designed the Delhi liquor trade by forming cartel manufacturing, retail, and wholesale business. On paper, Arun Pillai invested `3.40 crore in Indospirit. As revealed in the investigation, out of this amount, `1 crore was given to Pillai on the instruction of K. Kavitha," stated the ED remand report.
After detaining Pillai, the ED authorities produced him before the court and filed a petition for seven days of police custody for questioning. Pillai's counsel contended that his's arrest was illegal because the CBI and ED questioned him 38 times in connection with the case and recorded his statements.
After hearing arguments, the court granted seven-day police custody of Pillai for questioning. The ED officials further indicated that they will question both Pillai and Hyderabad-based auditor Buchi Babu.
According to the ED remand report, Vijay Karthurkar, CEO of Paul John, met Pillai and introduced Mahendru to him. Pillai was informed by Sameer that Vijay Nair of the AAP was calling the shots in the Delhi excise policy and holding meetings with influential figures. During their conversation," the ED said.
"In May 2021, Arun Pillai met Abhishek Boinpally at Kavita's house in Banjara Hills. Later, Arun Pillai introduced Sarath Reddy, Buchi Babu, and others. They all flew to Delhi. Arun Pillai joined as a partner in Indo Spirit which is part of the Delhi liquor trade," the ED said.
The investigating agency also discovered a WhatsApp conversation between Pillai and one of the accused in the case, Benoy Babu, about finding a "suitable CEO" for firms founded for the Delhi liquor business. The ED also revealed that Aurn Pillai used more than five mobile phones before destroying them.