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K Kavitha deleted evidences from 9 phones, paid Rs. 100 crore kickback to AAP in Delhi liquor policy: ED
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

K Kavitha deleted evidences from 9 phones, paid Rs. 100 crore kickback to AAP in Delhi liquor policy: ED

| @indiablooms | 03 Jun 2024, 08:36 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: BRS lawmaker K Kavitha, who was arrested in March in the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam, wiped clean eight mobile phones that may have had evidence, the Enforcement Directorate said Monday as it added her to a supplementary chargesheet.

The ED has also accused Kavitha of conspiring with the 'South group' to pay Delhi's ruling AAP Rs. 100 crore in exchange for liquor licenses.

The probe agency has accused her of plotting to acquire a stake in Indo Spirits, which received a wholesale license for the Rs. 100 crore payment, benefitted from the 12 percent profit margin, eventually making Rs. 192.8 crore profit till the policy was scrapped.

"These kickbacks were paid in exchange for undue favours...ensuring stakes for the 'South group' in different LIs, directing the biggest manufacturer, i.e., Pernod Ricard, to the wholesaler of the 'South group', and allowing holding (of) multiple retail zones..." the ED said in its document.

The "kickback" of Rs. 100 crore was then transferred to Goa (allegedly to be used for the AAP's election expenses) via illegal routes and are thus "proceeds of crime", the agency claimed.

It said that Kavitha and other 'South group' members, including Sameer Mahendru, "actively participated in formation of lndo Spirits as a vehicle to recoup and launder proceeds of crime". The agency said access to Pernod Ricard India's stocks resulted in artificially high profits.

"The entire profit (12 percent) of Rs. 192.8 crores resulting from the mentioned criminal activities is 'proceeds of crime'... By such acts, K Kavitha is involved in various processes and activities relating to proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs. 292.8 crore," the agency declared.

The ED has alleged that this caused a direct loss of Rs. 581 crore to the Delhi government.

In a fresh 177-page chargesheet filed Monday afternoon, in which Kavitha was listed as Accused No 32, the federal agency said she had submitted eight phones - two iPhone 13 Mini, two iPhone 13, two iPhone 13, and two iPhone 14 Pro.

The ED said the BRS leader was asked if she had formatted any of these devices or removed any data, to which the agency said she replied in the negative.

When the probe agency later confronted Kavitha with a forensic report, it was revealed that at least one of the devices had been formatted. However, she denied having tampered with the phone.

Pressed on the subject she became evasive, the Enforcement Directorate declared.

The chargesheet was filed shortly after a city court extended her stay in judicial custody till July 3.

Last week both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation denied her bail petitions in money laundering cases linked to the alleged liquor scam.

Both agencies called her a "highly powerful" individual, having the ability to influence witnesses and, potentially, corrupt evidence, and firmly rejected the call that she be given bail owing to her gender.

The CBI, which arrested her in April while in jail, argued that Kavitha is "not just a woman, but a very influential woman", and pointed to claims she had previously threatened one witness.

The ED, meanwhile, stressed the BRS leader is a co-conspirator and beneficiary of the alleged scam, and claimed proceeds of the crime were going directly to her.

Releasing her would affect the inquiry into a "deep-rooted, multi-layered conspiracy", they said.

Kavitha was arrested from her home in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills on March 15.

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