After ED, CBI Arrests BRS MLC K Kavitha in Delhi Liquor Scam

Hyderabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K. Kavitha in connection with a corruption case linked to the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam after obtaining permission from a special court here.

The Central anti-corruption agency arrested Kavitha from Jail No. 6 of Tihar prison around noon on Thursday under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 477-A (falsification of accounts) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 7 (offence relating to a public servant being bribed) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the officials said.

The arrest comes days before the Rouse Avenue court takes up Kavitha’s regular bail plea in the ED case on April 15.

Daughter of former Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, the BRS MLC has been under judicial custody in Tihar jail, where she was lodged after her arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the same case on March 15.

While Kavitha will remain in Tihar jail on Thursday, the CBI is likely to produce her before a court on Friday to seek her official remand. If the CBI gets her remand, Ms Kavitha will be moved to the lockup at the CBI headquarters, where she will be questioned by officers of the anti-corruption branch, which is probing the case, the officials said.

Following the CBI arrest, Kavitha's counsel filed a petition before the court on Thursday for an emergency hearing of the case seeking relief. However, the court denied granting relief to Kavitha and asked the counsel to approach the regular court. Kavitha's counsel alleged that CBI arrested illegally without serving any prior notice to Kavitha.

The CBI had questioned Kavitha inside the prison on Saturday after obtaining permission from a special court. The BRS leader was questioned on WhatsApp chats recovered from co-accused Buchi Babu's phone and documents related to a land deal after which `100 crores was allegedly paid to the Delhi's ruling AAP in kickbacks to swing the now-scrapped excise policy in favour of a liquor lobby.

The ED had arrested Kavitha from her Banjara Hills residence in Hyderabad on March 15. It has been alleged that one of the accused, Vijay Nair, received kickbacks to the tune of at least `100 crore from a group called South Group (controlled by Sarath Reddy, Ms Kavitha, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy) on behalf of the AAP leaders.

The CBI, which has so far filed three chargesheets against a number of accused, including former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, has alleged that kickbacks worth around `90-`100 crore were paid in advance to some AAP leaders and public servants by some people in the liquor business from South India through Mr Nair and co-accused Abhishek Boinpally and

Dinesh Arora.

The agency has alleged that these kickbacks were subsequently returned to them out of the profit margins of wholesalers holding L-1 licences through different modes, like the issuance of excess credit notes, bank transfers and outstanding amounts left in the accounts of companies controlled by some conspirators from the "South Lobby".

The Central agency has also alleged that a cartel was formed between three components of the said policy — liquor manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

All the conspirators allegedly played active roles in achieving the illegal objectives of the said criminal conspiracy. It resulted in huge losses to the exchequer and undue pecuniary benefits to the public servants and other accused involved in the conspiracy, the agency has claimed.

During the probe, the CBI found WhatsApp chats and records of hawala operators, which showed that an arrested executive of a private channel was allegedly instrumental in hawala transfers of `17 crores between June 2021 and January 2022 to Chariot Media, which was handling the outdoor advertisement campaign for the AAP during the 2022 Goa Assembly elections, the officials said. The Goa Assembly polls were held on February 14, 2022.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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