Excise policy case: K. Kavitha sent to judicial custody till April 9

New Delhi: BRS leader K. Kavitha being produced at Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 26, 2024.(IANS)

New Delhi: BRS leader K. Kavitha being produced at Rouse Avenue Court in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 26, 2024.(IANS)

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) A court here on Tuesday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC, K. Kavitha to judicial custody till April 9 in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The accused was presented before Special Judge Kaweri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court on expiry of her previously extended three-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody.

Besides presenting the usual ground that the accused is highly influential and there is every likelihood that she will influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence if released, the ED claimed that the investigation into economic crimes is "more complex than the ordinary crimes as economic offenders are resourceful and influential persons having deep roots in the society".

The ED claimed that they commit the said crimes in a "carefully planned and meticulous manner", thereby rendering the investigation process a complicated exercise.

Kavitha's counsel Advocate Nitesh Rana sought interim bail on grounds of her son's exams, and the court posted her bail application for April 1.

The ED said that it is still further investigating the role of Kavitha in the case and is unearthing the further proceeds of crime (PoC) and identifying the other persons who are involved or connected with the process or activities related to PoC.

"Therefore, the accused may please be remanded to judicial custody," the ED said.

The court sent Kavitha to judicial custody for 14 days.

The ED had arrested Kavitha, who is the daughter of BRS President and former Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, on March 15 after searches at her residence in Hyderabad.

Special Counsel for ED Zoheb Hossain had last time argued that Kavitha conspired with other people and was actively involved in the payment of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore.

He had claimed that she was involved in establishing the money laundering ecosystem i.e. M/s Indo Spirits through her proxy, which generated proceeds of crime worth Rs 192.8 crore.

"By such acts, Kavitha is involved in various processes and activities relating to Proceeds of Crime (POC) to the tune of at least Rs 292.8 crore," the ED alleged.

Hossain had submitted that even after giving multiple opportunities to cooperate in the investigation and recording of statements, Kavitha has not given true and complete disclosure.

"... she is giving evasive reply during the custodial interrogation," he had said.

During the ED custody period, Kavitha was also confronted with statements of various other persons/ co-accused, the court was told.

Further, the Directorate of Forensic Science report dated May 17, 2023, reflected the delegation/formatting of mobile data during the ED probe period.

"Data in her mobile phone has been extracted and is being analysed," ED had said.

"Some of the details of the business and profession of her nephew Meka Sri Sharan was also sought during the course of the statement. In response to this, she simply said 'I am not aware'."

Hossain had told the court that it was revealed during the investigation in the last seven days that Meka Sri Sharan was involved in the transfer/utilisation of PoC from Indo Spirits.

Earlier, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary appeared for the BRS leader and accused the ED of flouting the Supreme Court's directions, submitting that Kavitha's arrest is a blatant abuse of power and authority, and disregards the apex court's September 2023 order.

In response, the ED had said that it hasn't made any statement in any court, including the Supreme Court, that no coercive action will be taken against Kavitha, and contended that there is enough evidence and statements of witnesses against the arrested lawmaker in the matter.

The agency had also accused the BRS leader of destroying evidence and said that it has summoned her husband, Anil Kumar, and househelp on March 18 for the extraction of digital data.

"We are also summoning two other persons who gave statements against her to confront her," the ED had said.