Monday, June 17, 2024

Delhi Liquor Policy Scam, K Kavitha Destroyed 9 Phones, Stayed In Rs 10 Lakh Hotel Room: Probe Agency

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BRS lawmaker K Kavitha is former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter (File).

New Delhi:

BRS lawmaker K Kavitha – arrested in March in the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam – wiped clean eight mobile phones that may have had evidence, and was booked into an Rs 10 lakh room at a five-star hotel, the Enforcement Directorate said Monday adding her to a supplementary chargesheet.

The ED has also accused Ms Kavitha of conspiring with the ‘South group’ to pay Delhi’s ruling AAP Rs 100 crore in exchange for liquor licenses. She has also been accused of plotting to acquire a stake in Indo Spirits – which received a wholesale license for the Rs 100 crore payment – and benefitted from the 12 per cent profit margin, eventually making Rs 192.8 crore profit till the policy was scrapped.

“These kickbacks were paid in exchange of undue favours…ensuring stakes for the ‘South group’ in different LIs, directing the biggest manufacturer, i.e., Pernod Ricard, to the wholesaler of the ‘South group’, and allowing holding (of) multiple retail zones…” the ED said in its document.

The “kickback” – Rs 100 crore – the agency argued, was then transferred to Goa (allegedly to be used for the AAP’s election expenses) via illegal routes and are thus “proceeds of crime”.

The ED also claimed Ms Kavitha and other ‘South group’ members, including Sameer Mahendru, “actively participated in formation of lndo Spirits as a vehicle to recoup and launder proceeds of crime”. The agency said access to Pernod Ricard India’s stocks resulted in artificially high profits.

“Thereby the entire profit (12 per cent) of Rs. 192.8 crore being result of the mentioned criminal activities is ‘proceeds of crime’… By such acts, K Kavitha is involved in various processes and activities relating to proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 292.8 crore,” the agency declared.

All of this caused a direct loss of Rs 581 crore to the Delhi government, the ED has alleged.

READ | Probe Agency Names Kavitha In Fresh Chargesheet In Liquor Case

In a fresh 177-page chargesheet filed Monday afternoon, in which Ms Kavitha was listed as Accused No 32, the federal agency said she had submitted eight phones – two iPhone 13 Mini, two iPhone 13, two iPhone 13, and two iPhone 14 Pro. The ED said the BRS leader was asked if she had formatted any of these devices or removed any data, to which the agency said she replied in the negative.

READ | Kavitha “Threatened” Pharma Boss To Pay ₹ 25 Crore To AAP: CBI

The ED later confronted Ms Kavitha with a forensic report that said at least one of the devices had, in fact, been formatted. She, the agency said, once again denied she had tampered with the phone.

Pressed on the subject she became evasive, the Enforcement Directorate declared.

READ | BRS’ K Kavitha Arrested By CBI Inside Tihar Jail In Liquor Policy Case

The chargesheet was filed shortly after a city court extended her stay in judicial custody till July 3.

Last week both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation – she was arrested by the CBI in April while in jail – denied her bail pleas in money laundering cases linked to the alleged liquor scam.

READ | Giving Kavitha Bail Will Hamper Investigation: Probe Agency

Both agencies called Ms Kavitha a “highly powerful” individual, one able to influence witnesses and, potentially, corrupt evidence, and firmly rejected the call she be given bail because of her gender.

The CBI argued Ms Kavitha is “not just a woman, but a very influential woman”, and pointed to claims she had previously threatened one witness. The ED stressed the BRS leader is a co-conspirator and beneficiary of the alleged scam, and claimed proceeds of the crime were going directly to her.

Releasing her would affect the inquiry into a “deep-rooted, multi-layered conspiracy”, they said.

Ms Kavitha was arrested from her home in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills on March 15.

READ | Agency’s Big Claim Against Kavitha, Arrested In Liquor Policy Case

In her bail plea the BRS leader, the daughter of ex-Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, has denied any connection to the excise policy, and claimed a criminal conspiracy “orchestrated by the ruling party at the centre (the BJP) with active connivance of the Enforcement Directorate”.

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