BRS leader Kavitha arrested by ED in Delhi liquor policy case

BRS leaders have questioned the timing of the ED’s action against BRS leader and former CM KCR’s daughter Kavitha, a day before the Lok Sabha poll schedule is announced.
Kavitha Kalvakuntla
Kavitha KalvakuntlaFile Photo/Facebook
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Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha, daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged Delhi liquor scam case on Friday, March 15. Earlier in the day, the ED carried out searches at her residence in Hyderabad. Kavitha’s brother and BRS working president KT Rama Rao was seen arguing with ED officials for not allowing family members to meet Kavitha. He said the ED did not have a transit warrant, and alleged that the ED was violating its undertaking in the Supreme Court that it wouldn't take coercive action .

The arrest of the former MP just weeks ahead of the general elections has led to speculations that it is a political ploy by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Supreme Court had granted Kavitha interim protection from arrest till March 13. In her petition, she had said that the allegations against her were politically motivated and were framed at the behest of the BJP.

Questioning the timing of the arrest, BRS spokesperson Krishank Manne said that the ED issued a notice to Kavitha in September last year just before the state Assembly elections held in December. “Now ED and IT raids are being conducted just hours before the Lok Sabha schedule,” Krishank said. The poll schedule will be announced by the Election Commission of India on March 16 at 3 pm.

The ED has alleged that the people involved in the alleged scam gave kickbacks of crores of rupees to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders to gain control over the liquor business in Delhi. The ED started looking into Kavitha’s alleged involvement in the case after it arrested Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai on March 9, 2023. The ED said that Pillai had confessed to representing Kavitha’s interests in the liquor policy case. 

The former MP was first summoned by the ED in March 2023, and later again in September 2023 and January 2024. 

The ED is probing the Delhi liquor policy scam allegedly committed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed for cartelisation and privileged certain dealers over others. The preferred dealers had allegedly paid bribes worth Rs 100 crore for the licences. The liquor policy was scrapped soon after and a CBI probe commenced, following which the ED registered a case against the same accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

In its investigation, the ED had alleged that the people involved gave kickbacks of crores to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders that were allegedly used by the party during the 2022 Goa Assembly elections. The amount was paid to gain control over the liquor business in Delhi, the ED alleged. 

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