Harish Rao calls Kavitha’s arrest ‘illegal’, BRS to protest across Telangana

The Supreme Court had granted Kavitha, also the daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) interim protection from arrest in the Delhi liquor scam case till March 13.
Harish Rao
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Following the Enforcement Directorate’s arrest of BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha on Friday, March 15, Siddipet MLA and former Telangana health minister Harish Rao announced that a petition would be filed in the Supreme Court against the ED’s move. He also said that the BRS party will carry out protests across Telangana against the arrest. 

Addressing the media, Rao dubbed the move as “unconstitutional and illegal” and “an attempt to demoralise the Bharat Rashtra Samithi.” “We won’t be intimidated by threats like these. We are a party born out of a movement,” he said. Rao also stated that the ED ‘deliberately’ arrested former Nizamabad MP Kavitha on a Friday evening in haste.  

“The Supreme Court is still examining the rules regarding the arrest of a woman. In the meantime, the ED arrested her in a haste,” he said, adding that this isn’t the first time BRS leaders have been subjected to ‘harassment’ by the ED.   

Rao further stated that this was a ploy by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Union government and the Congress led state government in Telangana adding that this political conspiracy was carried out a day before the election notification was to come out. 

Former Telangana energy minister Jagadish Reddy stated that while the ED had agreed orally before the Supreme Court that they wouldn’t take any coercive action, they violated their own undertaking. “This is yet another instance of the BJP using agencies to harass the opposition. They wanted to do the same to former Telangana Chief Minister KCR,” he added. 

The Supreme Court had granted Kavitha, also the daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) 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.

The ED has alleged that the people involved in the scam gave kickbacks of crores of rupees to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders to gain control over the liquor business in Delhi ahead of the Goa elections. 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 conceived by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licenses 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).

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