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Excise policy case: Delhi court extends judicial custody of Kejriwal, K Kavitha

New Delhi: The Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BRS Leader K Kavitha and another person in the excise policy case.

The Court extended Kejriwal's judicial custody in the ED case till May 20, 2024, while K Kavitha's judicial custody was extended by the court till May 14 in the ED case and May 20 in the CBI case.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement on March 21, 2024. During the hearing appearing for Kejriwal, Advocate Rajat Bharadwaj apprised the court that the Supreme Court is presently hearing Arvind Kejriwal's matter on the aspect of interim bail.

The Special Judge Kaveri Baweja allowed the applications moved by the ED, which sought an extension of judicial custody of Arvind Kejriwal, K Kavitha and Chanpreet Singh in the excise policy case.

During the hearing, Arvind Kejriwal was produced through VC from Tihar Jail. However, K Kavitha produced before the court physically following a court order passed on Monday.

The Rouse Avenue Court on Monday also dismissed the bail petitions moved by Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha in connection with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED cases related to the excise policy case.

BRS leader K Kavitha was arrested by the EED on March 15, 2024 and by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 11, 2024.

Earlier, CBI through remand application stated that "Kavitha Kalvakuntla was required to be arrested in the instant case to conduct her custodial interrogation for confronting her with the evidence and witnesses to unearth the larger conspiracy hatched among the accused, suspect persons regarding the formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy, as well as to establish the money trail of ill-gotten money generated and to establish the role of other accused/suspect persons, including public servants, as well as to unearth the facts which are in her exclusive knowledge."

The CBI inquiry was recommended based 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 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, the probe agencies said.

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, the probe agency said and there was an alleged loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer. 

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