Excise 'scam': Delhi court sends BRS leader K Kavitha to ED custody till March 23

Kavitha, a member of the Telangana Legislative Council and daughter of former state chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was produced before Special Judge for ED cases.
BRS leader K Kavitha, arrested by the ED in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, being produced at the Rouse Avenue Court, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 16, 2024.
BRS leader K Kavitha, arrested by the ED in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, being produced at the Rouse Avenue Court, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 16, 2024.

New Delhi | Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, allegedly a key member of the "South Group", which has been accused of paying the ruling Aam Aadmi Party kickbacks of Rs 100 crore in return for a big share of liquor licences in the national capital, was on Saturday remanded in ED custody till March 23 in a money laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy "scam".

Kavitha, a member of the Telangana Legislative Council and daughter of former state chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was produced before Special Judge for ED cases M K Nagpal, who sent her to the custody of the federal anti-money laundering agency for a week. The ED had sought her custody for 10 days.

Kavitha, 46, was arrested from her Banjara Hills residence on Friday amid protests by BRS supporters.

Her remand came on a day Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeared before a metropolitan court in connection with two complaints filed by the Enforcement Directorate against him for skipping summons in the money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam.

Kejriwal, who skipped eight ED summonses before turning up at the court, was granted bail. His senior party colleagues-Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh-are in jail for their alleged involvement in formulating and implementing the excise policy 2020-21 which drastically raised the profit margins of liquor wholesalers and retailers. The ED has claimed Delhi's ruling dispensation extended them the favour in return for money.

While being produced before the judge, Kavitha termed her arrest as illegal and asserted, "We will fight it out in court."

During the hearing, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, appearing for Kavitha along with advocate Nitesh Rana, told the judge her arrest was "illegal".

The counsel also accused the federal anti-money laundering agency of flouting the Supreme Court direction while arresting her. They claimed the apex court had directed the ED to not take any coercive action against Kavitha before it hears her plea against the summons issued by the agency to her on March 19.

"It is a black day that SC orders are violated, that an officer thinks he/she is above law," the counsel told the court.

The ED, however, said it has not made any statement before a court, including the Supreme Court, that no coercive action will be taken against Kavitha.

"There is enough evidence, witnesses' statements against K Kavitha in the case," the ED said.

The agency also accused Kavitha of destructing evidence in the case.

"We have summoned several witnesses to confront K Kavitha with," the agency told the court.

Though Kavitha has not been named as an accused in any chargesheet filed by the ED, the agency has claimed she was a key figure of the "South Group" who made benami investments in beneficiary liquor companies.

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