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HomeNews ReportsAs ED arrests Telangana CM’s daughter K Kavitha in Delhi liquor scam, read how...

As ED arrests Telangana CM’s daughter K Kavitha in Delhi liquor scam, read how she played a crucial role in South Cartel paying ₹100 crore bribe to AAP leaders

The Telangana CM’s daughter is under probe for her involvement in the Delhi Excise Police scam case. It has been alleged that she is a member of the South Cartel which allegedly got several liquor licences in Delhi by paying a bribe of ₹100 crore.

Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) leader K Kavitha was arrested on Friday after the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate officials raided her residence in Hyderabad. The Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter who is also a MLC has been under probe for her involvement in the Delhi Excise Police scam case, and was questioned by ED earlier multiple times.

K Kavitha’s role in the scam came to light after the arrest of AAP leader and former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. According to the Enforcement Directorate, she is a member of the ‘South Cartel,’ which allegedly received payments in the case.

It has been alleged that the Delhi’s AAP govt’s new excise policy for granting licences to liquor sellers allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers, and the South Cartel paid bribes of ₹100 crore for the same. It was alleged that the South Cartel, which includes prominent personalities from the South, was one of the major beneficiaries of the policy. ED alleges that YSRCP Lok Sabha MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, BRS MLC K Kavitha, Aurobindo Pharma-founder P V Ramprasad Reddy were prominent members of this group.

The excise policy has now been scrapped after the scam broke out.

Initially, K Kavitha was questioned by the ED and CBI as a witness in the case, but during the investigation, it was found that she was directly involved with the scam. It was revealed during the questioning that she had links with several persons arrested in the case, including P. Sarath Chandra Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma and Gurugram-based businessman Amit Arora.

Moreover, another accused Arun Ramchandran Pillai also disclosed during questioning that he was acting on behalf of Kavitha. As per ED, Kavitha acted on behalf of the South Cartel to bribe the Delhi govt officials and ministers, and Pillai carried out this work. He allegedly convinced the cartel members to pay ₹100 to AAP leaders in Delhi, and he did it as per the instructions of Kavitha. The money was paid to AAP communication in-charge Vijay Nair, who received the money on behalf of his leaders.

The money was paid in advance, before liquor licences were issued by the Delhi govt. According to the ED, the South Group “secured uninhibited access, undue favours, attained stakes in established wholesale businesses and multiple retail zones (over and above what was allowed in the policy)”.

As per ED, Arun Ramchandran Pillai along with his associates was coordinating with various persons to execute the political understanding between the South Group and leaders of Aam Aadmi Party. Pillai holds 32.5% share in Indo Spirit, the company that got an L1 licence under the Delhi excise policy. He invested ₹3.40 crore in the company, and ₹1 crore of this was given to him on the instructions of Kavitha, ED had found.

It has been alleged that Indo Spirit is actually owned by Kavitha along with Magunta family and Delhi-based Sameer Mahendru. ED has said in the chargesheet that she got a partnership in Indo Spirits in the name of Arun Pillai in exchange for funds she had paid to AAP through Vijay Nair.

ED has further stated that to recover part of the bribe paid to AAP leaders, partners of the South Group were given stake in the Indo Spirits.

Another accused businessman Amit Arora has also confirmed Kavitha’s role in bribing AAP leaders and Delhi govt officials on behalf of the South Group. He told the ED that South cartel of liquor contractors led by P Sarath of Aurobindo Pharma, MLC K Kavita and MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy paid ₹100 crore to Aam Admi Party government’s key functionaries in Delhi.

Several others named in the case, some of whom have become approvers, have also named K Kavitha in relation to the scam.

The ED said that Sameer Mahendru, the Managing Director of Indospirit Group, was contacted by the cartel members who expressed interest in his business. He soon became ‘like family to Kavitha,’ and his alleged affiliation with their group was solidified via numerous phone conversations and meetings with her. Kavitha allegedly later destroyed the phone used in the conversations related to the case.

The ED has also stated in the court that K. Kavitha bought costly land parcels in and around Hyderabad with the “proceeds of crime” in the Delhi liquor scam case. In a supplementary chargesheet filed by the agency in a Delhi court said that Kavitha and her husband allegedly carried out financial transactions with Phoenix Group of companies, a company facing I-T probe.

As per the ED, Kavitha’s husband D.R. Anil Kumar was also actively involved in the scam, and he had taken part in a meeting at his residence to discuss the proposed liquor business in Delhi. K Kavitha, Sarath Chandra Reddy, Arun Pillai and Sameer Mahendru were to be part of the proposed business.

The South Cartel quickly recovered the bribe as it was granted a large number of licences in Delhi, and Indo Spirit earned a profit of ₹192 crore in 2021-22. As per ED, Delhi exchequer lost ₹581 crore due to the corruption in granting liquor licences. This lost amount was diverted the wholesalers including Indo Spirits, and they used it to recover the bribe paid the South Cartel.

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