K Kavitha ED summon: An interim relief has been provided to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha in a matter related to the Delhi excise policy irregularities case.
The Supreme Court today (September 15) adjourned the hearing on K Kavitha's plea against ED summons till September 26 as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) deferred summons against her till then. ED informed SC that they will not insist K Kavitha to appear before it till September 26.
Earlier, ED summoned BRS leader and the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, K Kavitha, at its Delhi office today for questioning in connection with the excise policy case in the national capital.
She was summoned by ED over her alleged involvement in certain irregularities. According to the sources, more than a dozen people were also summoned who were involved in carrying out cash transactions in the scam.
Kavitha was questioned several times at the ED headquarters in the month of March and had to submit her mobile phones to the federal agency.
It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital.
The policy was subsequently scrapped and the Delhi lieutenant governor had recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, following which the ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Kavitha, who is a member of the Telangana Legislative Council, was questioned by CBI in December 2022. During its probe, the ED had recorded the statement of Butchibabu, an accountant allegedly linked to Kavitha, in which he had said "there was political understanding between K Kavitha and the chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) and deputy chief minister (Manish Sisodia). In that process, K Kavitha also met Vijay Nair on March 19-20, 2021".
Kavitha has asserted that she has done no wrong and accused the BJP-led Centre of using the ED as the saffron party could not gain a backdoor entry into Telangana.
K Kavitha on ED summon:
MLC K Kavitha said ED notice issued to her in the Delhi Excise Policy case is politically motivated, and that the party’s legal team would decide the future course of action on it. Describing the ED notice as "Modi notice", the BRS leader said there is no need to react much to it as it was sent with political vindictiveness.
Responding to questions about the notice, Kavitha said using central agencies has been the modus operandi of BJP in any poll-bound state and since Telangana is going to polls, the same technique is being used here.
“I received a notice (from ED). We have given it to the party’s legal cell. We’ll go by their advice. We strongly believe that it is politically motivated because of the charged up environment in Telangana- upcoming elections,” she told media.
She compared the ED investigation to a never ending TV serial.
“But, unfortunately it is, in the past one year, the investigation is happening. I don’t know how long it will happen. I don’t think even 2G (scam) went on for so long. It is unfortunate, but it is political and highly politically motivated,” Kavitha said.
She expressed confidence that the people of Telangana will not take it seriously. Stating that the BRS is not the B-team of anybody but the "A-team of people of this country and Telangana", she said that people would see through this kind of operation by the BJP and teach the party a lesson, she said.
KNOW MORE ABOUT Delhi liquor policy scam:
ED has so far filed five charge sheets in the case, including against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia. ED, last year filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing an FIR after taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.
The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary's report filed in July last year showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials had said.
In October, the ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi's Jor Bagh-based liquor distributor Indospirit Group, in the case and arrested him later. The CBI too filed its first charge sheet in the case early this week.
The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority's approval. The beneficiaries diverted illegal gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection.
As per the allegations, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19.
This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
(With agencies inputs)