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Kavitha grilled for over 10 hours, summoned again today


Published on: March 20, 2023 | Updated on: March 21, 2023

BRS MLC K Kavitha arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, in New Delhi, Monday, March 20, 2023. (PTI Photo)

HYDERABAD: BRS MLC and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha, who appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second time in connection with the Delhi liquor scam case on Monday, was grilled for more than 10 hours at the ED office in New Delhi beginning at around 10.30 am and left around 9.15 pm flashing a victory symbol.

Following more than 10 hours of interrogation, the ED summoned Kavitha again and asked her to appear before it at 11 am on Tuesday, sources said.

Kavitha's husband, Devanapalli Anil Kumar, accompanied her until she reached the ED office main gate about 10.30 am on Monday. Kavitha and her family members, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday, met with legal experts on Monday before she was deposed before the ED officials for questioning under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

According to sources, the BRS MLC was confronted with the statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai, an arrested accused in the case apart from her former auditor Gorantla Buchi Babu.

Following five hours of questioning Pillai and Kavitha, ED officials produced Pillai before the court, and the court placed him on judicial remand till April 3, with the ED’s police custody ending on Monday.

At around 1 pm on Monday, Kavitha was interrogated by a group of ED officials — including women officers — based on her bank account statements and financial transactions. Following this, Kavitha, Pillai, and Buchi Babu were each individually questioned by the investigating agency officials.

After lunch, the ED resumed questioning Kavitha. About 7 pm, a team of advocates led by Telangana state additional AG Jayaramachander Rao, Kavitha's counsel Soma Bharath Kumar, and Gandra Mohan Rao entered the ED office. Minutes after a team of lawyers entered the ED office, tension gripped BRS leaders and activists gathered there. After more than 10 hours of questioning, Kavitha and her lawyers emerged from the ED office at about 9.15 pm and proceeded to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s residence in the national capital.

Kavitha was first questioned in the case on March 11 following which she was summoned again on March 16 but skipped the deposition last week citing her pending plea before the Supreme Court for relief against the ED action in the case. The Central probe agency rejected her claims and asked her to depose on March 20. The Supreme Court has decided to hear her petition on March 24. During her last questioning on March 11, she was questioned by the agency sleuths for more than nine hours. Her statement was recorded under the PMLA.

Meanwhile, YSRC MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy will appear before the ED on Tuesday after the agency issued summons. Earlier, Srinivasulu Reddy skipped the ED summons, claiming that he left for Chennai because one of his family members was ill. Srinivasulu Reddy was served with a fresh summons on Monday, asking him to appear before the ED on Tuesday.

Kavitha has claimed that she had done nothing wrong and alleged that the BJP-led Centre was "using" the ED as the saffron party could not gain a "backdoor entry" in Telangana state.

Pillai, the ED had said, "Represented the South Group", an alleged liquor cartel linked to Kavitha and others that paid kickbacks amounting to about `100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21. Kavitha was earlier been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation  (CBI) at her residence in Hyderabad. The ED has so far arrested 12 people in the case, including former Delhi deputy CM and AAP leader Manish Sisodia.