Excise policy 'scam': CBI produces K Kavitha before Delhi court

Witness statements, chats, financial transaction documents show Kavitha key conspirator: CBI to Delhi court

K Kavitha being produced at Delhi court on 12 April (photo: IANS)
K Kavitha being produced at Delhi court on 12 April (photo: IANS)


After the CBI on Thursday arrested Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC, K Kavitha, in the alleged excise policy scam, it produced the jailed leader before a Delhi court on Friday, 12 April.

Kavitha, who is in judicial custody till 23 April in the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam being probed by the ED, was arrested from Jail No-6 in Tihar at 12:50 p.m. on Thursday.

On Friday, the CBI sought Kavitha's five-day custody on the grounds that witness statements, retrieved WhatsApp chats, and financial transaction documents related to a land deal have implicated her as a major conspirator in a scheme to pay Rs. 100 crore to the AAP through accused Vijay Nair and others, in exchange for favourable provisions in Delhi's 2021-22 Excise Policy.

The CBI has said that investigation revealed that a liquor businessman of South India met with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on March 16, 2021, at the Delhi Secretariat to seek support for business under the new Excise Policy for 2021-22.

CM Kejriwal allegedly assured support and said that Kavitha would contact him about funding the AAP.

"Kavitha called the businessman on March 19 and met him on March 20 in Hyderabad, where she referenced her coordination with Kejriwal's team on the Excise Policy," the CBI has said.

The CBI has alleged that approver Dinesh Arora confirmed in his statements that co-accused Abhishek Boinpally informed him about a payment of Rs. 90-100 crore to Vijay Nair.

Arora detailed that out of this, Rs. 30 crore were transferred via hawala channels through him, collected by Rajesh Joshi of Chariot Media Productions Pvt. Ltd., which was hired by AAP for campaign work in the Goa Assembly election.

Additionally, hawala operators' statements and records confirmed that Rajesh Joshi transferred Rs. 11.94 crore from Delhi to Goa via hawala during the relevant period.

The CBI's investigation revealed that chats from the mobile of Butchibabu, CA to Kavitha, indicate her involvement in M/s Indospirit through proxy Arun R. Pillai. Other partners included approver Raghav Magunta and accused Sameer Mahendru.

"Despite allegations of blacklisting and cartelisation, M/s Indospirit was granted an L-1 Licence under pressure from Manish Sisodia. Additionally, under Vijay Nair's influence, M/s Indospirits became a wholesaler for M/s Pernod Ricard India Pvt. Ltd., which holds a 35 per cent market share in Delhi," it said.

The chats also show Kavitha's efforts to help Raghav Magunta secure an NOC for his company, M/s Pixie Enterprises, for the Airport Zone.

The central probe agency's remand application discloses that on Kavitha's assurance of her connections within the Delhi government and her ability to aid in the liquor business under the new Excise Policy, Sharath Chandra Reddy engaged in the business in Delhi.

Kavitha instructed Reddy that payments of Rs. 25 crore for wholesale and Rs. 5 crore per retail zone were to be made to the AAP through her associates Arun R. Pillai and Abhishek Boinpally, who would coordinate with Vijay Nair, CM Arvind Kejriwal's representative.

During March and May 2021, when the Excise Policy was being developed, Kavitha's associates, Arun R. Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally, and Butchibabu Gorantla, stayed at the Hotel Oberoi in Delhi, influencing the policy through Vijay Nair.

After ensuring support for Reddy's business operations in Delhi under the policy, a payment of Rs. 80 lakh was made to Telangana Jagruthi, an NGO led by Kavitha, through M/s Aurobindo Reality and Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., part of the Aurobindo Group, in March 2021 as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

The CBI has further said that the investigation revealed that in June-July 2021, Kavitha pressured Sharath Chandra Reddy into entering a sale agreement for agricultural land in Mahboob Nagar, Telangana, despite his lack of interest and knowledge of the land's value.

Kavitha insisted he pay Rs. 14 crore for the land and facilitated the sale through Mahira Ventures Pvt. Ltd., an Aurobindo Group company. The total payment was made through bank transactions -- Rs. 7 crore in the first week of July 2021 and another Rs. 7 crore in mid-November 2021.

"Kavitha was required to be arrested in the instant case to conduct her custodial interrogation for confronting her with the evidence and witnesses to unearth the larger conspiracy hatched among the accused/suspect persons regarding formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy, as well as to establish the money trail of ill-gotten money generated and to establish the role of other accused/suspect persons including public servants as well as to unearth the facts which are in her exclusive knowledge," the CBI has claimed seeking her custody.

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