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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BRS Leader K Kavitha Remanded to Jail for 14 Days in Delhi Liquor Policy Case

A Delhi court on Tuesday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha to jail till April 9. Ms Kavitha – arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 15 in the alleged liquor policy scam that has roiled the city’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party – was earlier in the agency’s custody; that was extended once last week so she could be confronted with data extracted from her mobile phone.

However, in a surprise move today, the ED sought only 15-day judicial custody, meaning Ms Kavitha will now likely be transferred to Delhi’s Tihar Jail rather than be held at the agency’s lock-up.

The fiery BRS leader hit out at her critics as she was taken from Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court.

She said the case against her “is not money laundering but political laundering”, and pointed out her accusers had either joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or donated money to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party (Rs 50 crore via the controversial and now-scrapped electoral bonds).

“It is a fabricated and false case. One accused has joined BJP, second is getting a BJP ticket, and third accused gave ₹ 50 crore in electoral bonds. This is political laundering… we will come out clean.”

What ED Told Rouse Avenue Court

In the remand request submitted to the court today, the agency said “it is evident Ms K Kavitha is involved in the acts of payment of kickbacks to government functionaries to gain illegal benefits in the excise policy formulation and implementation…” and that the BRS leader is “actually involved in the transfer of proceeds of crime of ₹ 100 crore… which was paid to AAP leaders”.

The agency also referred to Ms Kavitha’s skipping of summons and claimed she “has not given true and complete disclosure and has not cooperated with the investigation”.

K Kavitha’s Bail Plea

Ms Kavitha, meanwhile, sought interim bail on grounds of her minor son’s school exams. The bail plea – to be heard by a lower court, per the Supreme Court’s direction – will be on April 1.

The request was countered by the agency, which wanted to be heard before such an order is passed, pointing to stringent provisions governing bail for those charged under the money laundering act.

Why Did ED Arrest K Kavitha?

The ED has accused Ms Kavitha – the daughter of ex-Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao – of being a key member of the ‘South Group’ that allegedly paid the AAP a bribe of ₹ 100 crore in exchange for liquor licenses under the Delhi government’s now-scrapped policy.

The ED also believes the AAP used this money to fund its Goa and Punjab election campaigns.

Following her arrest from Hyderabad – in dramatic circumstances that involved a verbal spat between her brother, and former Telangana minister, KT Rama Rao and a team of ED officials – Ms Kavitha had also approached the Supreme Court. However, her appeal was swiftly shot down.

A special bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh, and Bela Trivedi said they could not allow individuals to bypass the lower courts simply because they were persons of influence.

The court did, however, issue a notice to the centre on her petition challenging the validity of the PMLA, or Prevention of Money Laundering Act, under which she was arrested.

The centre was given six weeks to respond.

Incidentally, the same bench was to hear an identical plea by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was arrested last week in connection with the same case. He withdrew the plea shortly after Ms Kavitha’s was rejected, fearing the same outcome. Mr Kejriwal is now in ED custody till Thursday.

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(Source: NDTV)

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