The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday questioned BRS MLC K. Kavitha for nearly nine hours in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped excise policy of the Delhi government.
Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, arrived at the agency headquarters around 11 am and left the office by 8 pm. The agency recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and has summoned her again on March 16.
The ED wanted to confront Kavitha with Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai who was arrested earlier this week. The agency had alleged that Pillai was a frontman of the “South Group” which Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from the Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others. It had also alleged that Pillai “represented the benami investments” of Kavitha in the case.
The case pertains to allegations that the Arvidn Kejriwal government’s policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers, who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.
The policy was scrapped in August last year and the Delhi lieutenant governor subsequently asked the CBI to probe the alleged irregularities and corruption involving government authorities, bureaucrats and liquor traders, among others. The ED began a separate probe into the money-laundering charges in the case.
In his statement given to the ED, Butchi Babu, a chartered accountant allegedly linked to Kavitha, had claimed that there was a political understanding among Kejriwal, his former deputy Manish Sisodia and Kavitha. The ED has so far arrested 12 people, including Sisodia.
Meanwhile, Pillai on Saturday moved a Delhi court accusing the ED of forging his statements in the matter. He claimed that the probe agency forced him to sign two documents and presented them as his statements, including one in November 2022. Special Judge M.K. Nagpal has issued a notice to the ED and directed it to file a reply by March 13.