ED claims Rs 100cr changed hands in Delhi liquor scam

Update: 2023-02-02 18:55 GMT
TRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha. (DC File Photo)

Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate investigating the Delhi liquor scam on Thursday claimed to have established hawala transactions, cash deposits in excess to liquor sales and benami investments including Rs 1 crore allegedly arranged by BRS MLC K. Kavitha to one of the kingpins in the scam.

The latest chargesheet filed by the ED, for the first time, dragged in the name of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who, the investigating agency said, held video calls with Sameer Mahandru at the instance of Vijay Nair, both of whom were arrested in the case. Kejriwal allegedly assured Mahandru that Nair was “his boy” and that Sameer “should trust him and carry on with him.”

The ED and the CBI, which is also probing the scam, informed the court that Rs 100 crore was paid as kickback to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders of which at least Rs 30 crore was arranged through hawala by one of the accused, Abhishek Boinpally. The ED also cited documentary evidence to establish that Rs 41.3 crore in excess to actual sales was deposited in the retail entities belonging to a city-based businessman.

Besides, the probing agency beyond doubt established with scientific proof that the businessman formed and operated a cartel of retail outlets in violation of the Delhi excise policy.

The ED, going by its own chargesheet, largely depended on the statements issued by different persons connected with the scam and others summoned as witnesses to establish Kavitha’s role. The ED so far did not submit concrete evidence, as it did in the case of others, to prove its allegations against the BRS MLC.

One V. Srinivasa Rao, a close relative of Kavitha, said in his statement to the ED that he had arranged Rs 1 crore payment to Arun Pillai to acquire a stake in Indo Spirit, the wholesale liquor agency that has emerged as the epicentre of the scam. Pillai was the first to admit that he was a benami of Kavitha, and revealed that several meetings were held between the South Group comprising Kavitha, YSR Congress MP Magunta Srinivas Reddy and the businessman, and Vijay Nair.

He was spared from arrest by the ED. A few more witnesses also gave statements that they saw Kavitha in meetings in Delhi and at her residence in Hyderabad and overheard her discussions on recouping the kickbacks paid to AAP leaders. Another two crucial players – Abhishek and auditor Butchi Babu – did not utter a word over the involvement of Kavitha in their statements, according to the chargesheet.

The ED established the hawala money trail, for instance, Rs 1 crore arranged by Abhishek was picked from a trader in Bengali market in Delhi and Rs 70 lakh of it was paid to an agency owned by one Rajesh Joshi that was actively engaged in conducting surveys and poll campaigns for the AAP during the Goa Assembly elections.

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