Delhi liquor policy: AAP vs BJP over K Kavitha-Arvind Kejriwal 'conspiracy'. What did ED claim? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Delhi liquor policy: AAP vs BJP over K Kavitha-Arvind Kejriwal 'conspiracy'. What did ED claim?

Mar 19, 2024 11:15 AM IST

ED said K Kavitha and some others conspired with AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia to get favours in Delhi excise policy by paying ₹100 crore.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has termed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) a political wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and dismissed its charges against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as blatant and frivolous lies. The BJP hit back at the AAP describing Arvind Kejriwal as a “corrupt and greedy thug”.

BRS leader K Kavitha, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia.
BRS leader K Kavitha, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia.

The ED on Monday claimed that BRS leader K Kavitha and some others “conspired” with top AAP leaders, including AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, to get favours in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy by paying 100 crore to the political party that rules Delhi.

K Kavitha was arrested last week by the ED from Hyderabad. Reacting to the allegation, the AAP said the ED's investigation was biased.

What did ED say on K Kavitha and AAP leaders?

  • The Enforcement Directorate in its statement said K Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, along with others, was found to have conspired with the top leaders of AAP, including Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, for favours in the Delhi excise policy.
  • "ED investigation revealed that K Kavitha along with others allegedly conspired with the top leaders of AAP including Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia for getting favours in the Delhi Excise policy formulation and implementation," ED claimed in a statement.
  • "In exchange for these favours, she was involved in paying 100 crore to the leaders of AAP. By the acts of corruption and conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, a continuous stream of illegal funds in the form of kickback, from the wholesalers was generated for the AAP," the agency added.
  • Further, K Kavitha and her associates were to recover the proceeds of crime paid in advance to the AAP and to further generate profits and proceeds of crime from this entire conspiracy.
  • “In exchange for these favours, she (K Kavitha) was involved in paying 100 crore to the leaders of AAP,” the ED said.

How AAP reacted to ED charges against Arvind Kejriwal

  • The AAP dismissed the ED allegations and said even the Supreme Court had not found credibility in the claim.
  • "Even the SC has discarded ED's claim that any money trail of 100 crore exists in this matter. The entire world knows by now that the entire excise case is fake and without an iota of evidence," the AAP said in a statement.
  • "On earlier occasions too, ED has released such blatantly false and frivolous statements which show that instead of being a neutral investigative agency, it is working like a political wing of BJP," it added.
  • Delhi minister Atishi alleged that the ED is “planting stories” in the media and has not even a “penny worth” of evidence against Kejriwal.
  • The AAP termed the ED probe a "desperate attempt" to malign the image of Kejriwal and former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia by "planting falsehoods and creating a media sensation."
  • "ED is showing its true political colour by sending summons after summons to Kejriwal and issuing statements to the media. This whole game of ED-CBI is to stop Kejriwal from campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls," Atishi said.

What BJP said

BJP national spokesperson Sanju Verma said, “Arvind Kejriwal, the corrupt and greedy thug who masquerades as CM is clearly mentioned in this ED press release and how alongwith Manish Sisodia and K.Kavitha, he was involved in a quid pro quo, is again a reflection of the rot that pervades the Arvind Kejriwal regime in Delhi.”

"ED's statement, which presents no new fact or evidence, speaks volumes of its frustration since they have not recovered a single rupee or piece of evidence in this case, despite carrying out over 500 raids and questioning thousands of witnesses," the AAP said.

What's liquor policy case and allegation against K Kavitha?

  • The ED has questioned K Kavitha thrice last year in this case and again summoned her this year but she did not depose citing a Supreme Court direction that allowed her protection from any coercive action.
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed that K Kavitha was linked to a “South Group” lobby of liquor traders, who were trying to play a larger role under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.
  • The agency alleged that one of the accused in the case, Vijay Nair, received kickbacks to the tune of at least 100 crore on behalf of the AAP leaders from the “South Group”, allegedly controlled by Sarath Reddy, Kavitha and Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy.
  • K Kavitha has asserted that she had done nothing wrong and alleged that the Centre was “using” the ED as the BJP could not gain a “backdoor entry” into Telangana.

What is the ‘South Group’?

  • The "South Group", according to the ED, comprises Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others.
  • The ED alleged in Pillai's remand papers that he “represented the benami investments” of K Kavitha in the case.
  • The ED also recorded the statement of Butchibabu, an accountant allegedly linked to K Kavitha. According to the ED, the accountant said that "there was political understanding between K Kavitha and (Delhi) chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) and (then Delhi) deputy chief minister (Manish Sisodia). In that process, K Kavitha also met Vijay Nair on March 19-20, 2021".
  • Nair was arrested in the case by both the ED and the CBI.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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