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Probe Agency Names K Kavitha In Fresh Chargesheet In Liquor Policy Case

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed a fresh charge sheet in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case naming BRS leader K Kavitha and four others as accused, official sources said.

The sources told PTI the nearly 200-page prosecution complaint (charge sheet) along with annexures was filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at the Rouse Avenue court here.

Ms Kavitha, an MLC of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party, three employees of a company that handled AAP’s Goa campaign (Chariot Productions Media Pvt Ltd) – Damodar Sharma, Prince Kumar and Chanpreet Singh – besides a former employee of India Ahead News Channel Arvind Singh have been named as accused in the latest charge sheet, they said.

Kaveri Baweja, the special judge for ED and CBI cases, is likely to take up the charge sheet for cognisance on May 13. A similar complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to be filed next week.

The federal agency had arrested 46-year-old Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, from her Banjara hills residence in Hyderabad on March 15.

Chanpreet was arrested on April 15 and it was alleged by the agency that he “managed” cash funds for AAP’s 2022 Goa assembly campaign. The three Chariot company employees too had alleged role in the movement and handling of “bribe” funds paid by the ‘South Group’ through ‘Angadiyas’ and hawala route for the party’s Goa campaign.

Arvind Singh, the commercial head and production controller of India Ahead News, was arrested by the CBI in this case in May last year for alleged transfer of these funds that have been called “kickbacks” of this “scam”.

This is the seventh charge sheet filed by the ED in this case in which it has arrested 18 people so far including Kejriwal, who was given interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The ED has alleged that K Kavitha was a key member of the ‘South Group’ that has been accused of paying the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged kickbacks of Rs 100 crore in return for a big share of liquor licences in the national capital, as part of the excise policy for 2021-22 which has was scrapped following allegations of corruption and cartelisation of liquor traders.

The agency earlier said Ms Kavitha was “one of the kingpins, a key conspirator and beneficiary of the Delhi excise policy scam”.

“K Kavitha orchestrated a deal with Arvind Kejriwal, then deputy chief minister and minister of excise Manish Sisodia, wherein she along with other members of the South Group paid them kickbacks through a string of intermediaries and middlemen.

“In exchange of the kickbacks paid to the leaders of AAP she had access to the policy formulation and was offered provisions to ensure favourable position to her,” the ED had claimed.

It further alleged Kavitha was “involved” in various activities relating to proceeds of crime to the tune of at least Rs 292.8 crore.

In a linked development, the Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the ED on a bail plea moved by Kavitha in this case.

She was also arrested by the CBI while she was under judicial custody in the ED case.

While refusing to grant her relief, the trial court had said Ms Kavitha’s role “prima facie appears as that of key conspirator of the criminal conspiracy hatched for the purpose of collection and payment of upfront money to AAP through co-accused for getting favourable provisions in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22”.

“Her role in demanding the upfront money and the alleged payment thereof for favourable provisions in the Excise Policy have also been highlighted in the course of arguments and as discussed in the preceding paragraphs,” the trial court had noted.

In her bail plea filed in the high court, the BRS leader said she has “nothing to do” with the excise policy and there is a criminal conspiracy against her, “orchestrated by the ruling party at the Centre with the active connivance of the Enforcement Directorate”.

She submitted there is no case against her and she is being implicated on the basis of witness statements whose credibility is under serious doubt.

The ED had alleged that Rs 45 crore “kickbacks”, out of the Rs 100 crore “bribe” provided by the ‘South Group’, were used by the AAP for the Goa assembly election campaign in 2022.

The ‘South Group’ liquor lobby allegedly includes Ms Kavitha, TDP Ongole (Andhra Pradesh) seat Lok Sabha candidate Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Reddy and others.

The excise case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities. Subsequently, the ED registered a case under the PMLA.

The ED filed its money laundering case on August 22, 2022, taking cognisance of the CBI FIR that was lodged on August 17, 2022.

​The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed a fresh charge sheet in the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case naming BRS leader K Kavitha and four others as accused, official sources said. 

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