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Delhi Excise case: ED raids Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K Kavitha's Hyderabad residence

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at the residence of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC, K Kavitha, in Hyderabad on Friday in connection with the alleged Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case.
The action comes almost two months after the ED issued summons to the 45-year-old daughter of former Telangana Chief Minisiter and BRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao.
She was questioned thrice in this case last year and the central agency recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Kavitha has asserted in the past that she had done nothing wrong and alleged that the BJP-led Centre was "using" the ED as the saffron party could not gain a "backdoor entry" into Telangana.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has also previoulsy questioned Kavitha in this case. The ED had filed a case of money laundering taking cognisance of the FIR filed by the CBI.
In its investigation, ED said it came to know that Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, who was arrested last year in the case, was one of the key persons in the entire scam involving payments of huge kickbacks and formation of the biggest cartel of the South Group.
South Group comprises Telangana MLC Kavitha, Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Group), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (MP, Ongole), his son Raghav Magunta, and others. The South Group was being represented by Pillai, Abhishek Boinpalli and Butchi Babu, the federal agency investigation has revealed.
Pillai along with his associates was coordinating with various persons to execute the political understanding between the South Group and a leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Pillai has been an accomplice and was involved in kickbacks from the South Group and the recoupment of the same from the businesses in Delhi, the ED investigation revealed.
The ED had earlier said that the South Group gave kickbacks of Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders.
Pillai is learnt to be a partner of 32.5 per cent in Indo Spirits, which had got an L1 licence. Indo Spirits is a partnership firm of Arun (32.5 per cent), Prem Rahul (32.5 per cent) and Indospirit Distribution Limited (35 per cent), wherein Arun and Prem Rahul represented the benami investments of Kavitha and Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and his son Raghava Magunta.
Pillai is a partner in Indo Spirits. In this partnership firm, Pillai represented the interests of Kavitha.
ED has filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing 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 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.
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. 

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