Delhi Liquor Policy case: ED summons KCR's daughter Kavitha
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's (KCR) daughter K Kavitha on Thursday to probe suspected money laundering in the alleged Delhi Liquor Policy scam. The summons was issued after the ED on Tuesday arrested Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, whom the agency claims was a "benami," or the indirect property buyer of Kavitha.
Why does this story matter?
- Probe agencies claim that a cartel of liquor traders paid kickbacks to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government for undue favors.
- In October, KCR declared his national ambitions by launching the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which will challenge the ruling BJP in the upcoming General Elections.
- The Opposition has frequently accused BJP of using probe agencies to eliminate competition and create political monopoly.
ED claims Kavitha is part of southern cartel
The ED earlier named Kavitha in the case along with other politicians and business persons from southern India. It claimed that a "Southern cartel" paid Rs. 100 crore as kickbacks to Delhi's AAP government to get liquor licenses illegally, which the party used for poll campaigns. Pillai was arrested on suspicion of representing the cartel. He was the eleventh person to be arrested.
Opposition leaders including KCR protested Sisodia's arrest
Notably, the BJP doesn't yet have a solid political footing in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The ruling parties in both states have joined the ranks of the Opposition. Opposition leaders including KCR, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann, Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Pawar, and Uddhav Thackeray wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi protesting the arrest of Sisodia, who is currently in Tihar Jail.
Kavitha's former aide and auditor arrested last month
Last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Kavitha's former aide Butchi Babu Gorantla for not cooperating with the investigation in the case after raiding his residence in September last year. Incidentally, Gorantla also worked as an auditor for Kavitha and other prominent figures. The CBI claimed that Hyderabad's wholesale and retail licensees and their beneficial owners gained wrongfully from the policy.
Several arrests made in the case from Hyderabad
The agencies claim that the cartel includes Kavitha's party Telangana Rashtra Samithi's (TRS) founding member's son Abhishek Boinpally Rao, Sarath Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma, and Pernod Ricard official Benoy Babu. They all were arrested from Hyderabad with Pillai being the latest addition to the list. Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy and his son are also named in the case.