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Delhi court sends BRS leader Kavitha to judicial custody till Apr 23 in CBI case | Latest News Delhi

A Delhi court on Monday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha to Tihar jail in judicial custody till April 23 in connection with the alleged irregularities in formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

BRS leader K Kavitha leaves the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi after being produced by the CBI in the excise policy case on Monday. (PTI)

Kavitha, the 46-year-old daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 11. She was lodged in the Tihar Jail under judicial custody in a parallel case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), alleging her to be one of the “key conspirators” in the case.

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CBI, while producing Kavitha before the court, sought to send her to 14 days judicial custody, saying that she did not cooperate and gave evasive replies, contrary to the evidence, when she was interrogated during her three-day police custody.

The agency submitted that her further custodial interrogation is not required at the present stage. It was also submitted that she, being a prominent politician, is a very influential person and there are credible reasons to believe that she may influence the witnesses and the potential witnesses, who are yet to be examined, tamper with evidence and hamper the ongoing probe which is at a very crucial stage.

Appearing for Kavitha, advocate Nitesh Rana and Deepak Nagar opposed CBI’s submissions and averred that not cooperating according to CBI cannot be a ground to be remanded to judicial custody.

The court, after considering the submissions of both the parties, remanded Kavitha to judicial custody till April 23.

CBI, in the earlier hearing on Friday, had alleged that Kavitha was one of the key persons involved in arranging and providing kickbacks of approximately 100 crores to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to get favourable provisions added to the now-scrapped policy.

The CBI also alleged that she was in contact with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his team and held partnership, through her proxy, in the company Indospirits, which was a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created for recoupment of kickbacks.

The CBI had earlier on April 6 interrogated Kavitha in Tihar Jail after obtaining permission from the court. However, according to CBI, she did not give satisfactory replies to their questions and gave evasive answers despite being confronted with the evidence.

Kavitha was initially apprehended by ED on March 15 in the money laundering case and was sent to judicial custody on March 26. ED has also referred to her as a key person in irregularities surrounding the excise policy.

The case has so far witnessed four high profile arrests including that of Kejriwal, Delhi’s former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and AAP parliamentarian Sanjay Singh. Out of the four, Kejriwal and Singh were only apprehended by ED, and not by CBI.

The court last week dismissed an interim bail application moved by Kavitha, who cited her minor son’s examination, noting that the materials placed on record show her “active involvement” in the offence and that she was involved in destruction of evidence and influencing the witnesses.

The Delhi government’s 2021-22 excise policy aimed to revitalise the city’s flagging liquor business. It aimed to replace a sales-volume based regime with a license fee one for traders, and promised swankier stores, free of the infamous metal grilles, ultimately giving customers a better buying experience. The policy also introduced discounts and offers on the purchase of liquor, a first for Delhi.

The plan, however, ended abruptly, with Delhi’s lieutenant governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime. This ultimately resulted in the policy being scrapped prematurely and being replaced by the 2020-21 regime, with the AAP alleging that Saxena’s predecessor sabotaged the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than- expected revenues.

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