According to sources, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Bharatiya Rashtriya Samiti (BRS) MLC and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha for questioning on Thursday in the ongoing investigation into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 alleged money laundering case.
The summons follows the arrest of former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia in the case of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI questioned Kavitha in December of last year.
Sisodia was arrested on February 26 as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the National Capital Territory of Delhi’s excise policy (GNCTD). The Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi committed him to Judicial Custody until March 20.
The ED filed its first chargesheet in the case last year. The agency stated that it has conducted nearly 200 search operations in this case since filing an FIR in response to a CBI case that was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi lieutenant governor.
According to officials, the CBI investigation was recommended based on the findings of the Delhi chief secretary’s report filed in July, which showed prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010.
Following the arrest of Sameer Mahendru, Managing Director of Delhi’s Jor Bagh-based spirits distributor Indospirit Group, in the case, the ED raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab in October and later arrested him. Early this week, the CBI also filed its first charge sheet in the case.
According to the ED and the CBI, irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced, and the L-1 licence was extended without the approval of the competent authority. To avoid detection, the beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account.
According to the allegations, the Excise Department decided to refund an Earnest Money Deposit of approximately Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer in violation of the established rules. Despite the lack of an enabling provision, COVID-19 allowed for a waiver on tendered licence fees from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022.
This allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which was instituted on a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and a reference from the Union Home Ministry.