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BRS leader K. Kavitha sent to 3-day CBI custody in excise policy case

New Delhi, April 12 2024-

A Delhi court on Friday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha, to Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) custody for three days, till April 15, in a case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Court pronounced the order after hearing both parties at length.

The CBI, which arrested Kavitha from the Tihar Jail on Thursday and produced her before a Delhi court on Friday, had sought five days custody on the grounds that witness statements, retrieved WhatsApp chats, and financial transaction documents related to a land deal have implicated her as a major conspirator in a scheme to pay Rs 100 crore to the AAP through accused Vijay Nair and others, in exchange for favourable provisions in Delhi’s 2021-22 Excise Policy.

The CBI has said that investigations revealed that a liquor businessman from south India met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on March 16, 2021, at the Delhi Secretariat to seek support for business under the new Excise Policy for 2021-22.

CM Kejriwal allegedly assured support and said that Kavitha would contact him about funding the AAP.

“Kavitha called the businessman on March 19 and met him on March 20 in Hyderabad, where she referenced her coordination with Kejriwal’s team on the Excise Policy,” the CBI has claimed.

The CBI’s investigation revealed that chats from the mobile of her CA Butchi Babu indicate her involvement in M/s Indospirit through proxy Arun R. Pillai. Other partners included approver Raghav Magunta and accused Sameer Mahendru.

“Despite allegations of blacklisting and cartelisation, M/s Indospirit was granted an L-1 Licence under pressure from Manish Sisodia. Additionally, under Vijay Nair’s influence, M/s Indospirits became a wholesaler for M/s Pernod Ricard India Pvt. Ltd., which holds a 35 per cent market share in Delhi,” it said.

The chats also show Kavitha’s efforts to help Raghav Magunta secure a NOC for his company, M/s Pixie Enterprises, for the Airport Zone.

The central probe agency’s remand application discloses that Sharath Chandra Reddy engaged in the business in Delhi on Kavitha’s assurance of her connections within the Delhi government and her ability to aid in the liquor business under the new Excise Policy. She instructed him that payments of Rs 25 crore for wholesale and Rs 5 crore per retail zone were to be made to the AAP through her associates Pillai and Abhishek Boinpally, who would coordinate with Vijay Nair, CM Kejriwal’s representative.

The CBI has further said that the investigation revealed that in June-July 2021, Kavitha pressured Sharath Chandra Reddy into entering a sale agreement for agricultural land in Telangana, despite his lack of interest and knowledge of the land’s value. Kavitha insisted he pay Rs 14 crore for the land and facilitated the sale through Mahira Ventures Pvt Ltd, an Aurobindo Group company.

The total payment was made through bank transactions — Rs 7 crore in the first week of July 2021 and another Rs 7 crore in mid-November 2021.

“Kavitha was required to be arrested in the instant case to conduct her custodial interrogation for confronting her with the evidence and witnesses to unearth the larger conspiracy hatched among the accused/suspect persons regarding formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy, as well as to establish the money trail of ill-gotten money generated and to establish the role of other accused/suspect persons including public servants as well as to unearth the facts which are in her exclusive knowledge,” the CBI said in its plea for custody. (Agency)

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