Delhi liquor scam: AAP leaders, KCR's daughter named in chargesheet
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed in its chargesheet that the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister, Kalvakuntla Kavitha, was part of the "South group" that paid kickbacks of Rs. 100 crore to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders for reek benefits under the Delhi Excise Policy. Filed before a special Rouse Avenue district court judge, the chargesheet relied on Indospirits MD Sameer Mahendru's statement.
Why does this story matter?
- After Delhi Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena's recommendations, probe agencies are investigating reported anomalies by Delhi's AAP administration in granting liquor licenses under the 2021-22 excise policy.
- Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, however, had claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to intimidate and jail AAP leaders ahead of the Gujarat polls.
South group approached Mahendru: ED chargesheet
Mahendru, accused in the reported money laundering case, alleged that members of the "South group" approached him. As per reports, they conveyed their interest in his company, and his initial pushback against the alliance fizzled out after AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair promised him a wholesale business. His relationship with the group reportedly developed further over phone calls and meetings with Kavitha.
Sisodia, Singh also named by ED
In ED's chargesheet, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's name also figures based on businessman Dinesh Arora's statement, who claimed that he originally met AAP's Sanjay Singh, via whom he met eventually Sisodia at a restaurant during a party. It also alleged that Kavitha spoke to Mahendru on Facetime in September 2021 and said she was "happy that they have partnered up."
South group was keen on investing in Delhi: Mahendru
According to the statement from Mahendru, Nair met and informed him about Arun Pillai, a South group member, whose "group was keen on investing in Delhi business, that this group had deep pockets, political connections, and friends of Arvind Kejriwal."
Mahendru met Kavitha in 2022: ED
In its chargesheet, the ED also claimed that Mahendru met Kavitha in 2022 at her Hyderabad residence, where she informed him that he is "like family to her and doing business with Arun was like doing business with Kavitha and that they will take this relationship to a larger scale in multiple states and expand majorly."
Vijay Nair was very close to Delhi CM: ED
As per reports, the ED also alleged that Nair was close to Kejriwal. In the chargesheet, the investigation body also mentioned Congress leader Sachin Pilot's name. One of the accused, Arjun Pandy, who is close to Nair, was reportedly also close to the Congress leader.
More on the alleged scam
The Enforcement Directorate started a probe on the back of a First Information Report (FIR) registered by CBI, which named the Delhi Deputy CM as one of the main names in the case. On July 30, Sisodia, who heads the excise department, announced a policy reversal and stated that, from August 1, only government establishments could sell alcohol in Delhi.