Delhi excise policy case: Court extends ED custody of Kavitha till March 26

BRS leader K. Kavitha being taken to the Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 23, 2024.
BRS leader K. Kavitha being taken to the Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 23, 2024.

New Delhi | A court here on Saturday extended the Enforcement Directorate custody of BRS leader K Kavitha, an accused in the Delhi excise policy money laundering case, till March 26.

The ED has alleged that Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was a key member of the 'South Group' that has been accused of paying the AAP kickbacks of Rs 100 crore in return for a big share of liquor licences in the national capital.

"In view of the fact that further custodial interrogation of the accused (Kavitha) has been sought for further sustained and detailed interrogation the ED custody of the accused is extended till March 26," Special Judge Kaveri Baweja said.

The judge directed the Investigating Officer (IO) "to ensure that further interrogation and confrontation of accused is done without any delay".

The court also allowed Kavitha's application to meet her family members, including her husband, son, brother, sister and sister-in-law, and her personal assistant (PA) in the court.

It noted that Kavitha had also filed another application seeking directions to the ED to allow her home-cooked food to enable her to have the medically prescribed diet.

In her plea, Kavitha said that she was suffering from some medical ailments, such as heartburn and the doctor had advised her to conform to the specified diet.

"It is noted that in the order dated March 16 permission for providing a medically prescribed diet has already been issued. However, considering the request made on behalf of the accused today, she is permitted to be provided with home-cooked food, as requested," the court said.

In its plea seeking an extension of her custodial remand by five days, the federal probe agency said Kavitha was interrogated, confronted with statements of four people and questioned based on the findings during investigation.

It said Kavitha was also confronted with a forensic report showing formatting of her mobile phone data during the probe. Her cell phone data was being analysed, it said.

"During the search conducted at the premises of the arrestee (Kavitha) on March 15, a mobile device belonging to Meka Saran (her nephew) has been seized. He was called two times to appear before the investigation. However, he has failed to appear before the investigation," the plea said.

It said the investigation in the last week revealed that Saran was involved in the transfer or utilisation of the proceeds of crime.

"Since he is in possession of information relevant for investigation in the case and he is not cooperating with the investigation, Search is being conducted at his premises (in Hyderabad on Saturday)," the plea said.

It said Saran is a "close relative" of the Kavitha and that he was present in her house when ED conducted the raid.

"Some of the family business details, financials of the family business etc. were sought and she (Kavitha) said that she would inform her counsel/family member and the same information will be shared by them through mail," the plea said. But not a single detail was furnished to the ED, it said.

"An application is also moved before this court for further interrogation of Sameer Mahendru, for getting the details of the said transfer/utilization of proceeds of crime (POC) by Meka Saran, and to ascertain the role of the arrestee," the remand application said.

It said Kavitha has to be interrogated on the recent findings.

During the proceedings, Kavitha's advocate Nitish Rana filed a bail plea following which the ED counsel said the Investigating Officer (IO) is "neck deep" in the case and the order on bail could be passed on the next date of hearing.

"Five days is enough for filing a reply to the bail. I am not pressing it," the advocate said.

Kavitha, 46, a Telangana Legislative Council member, was arrested by the central probe agency from her residence at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad on March 15.

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