Delhi liquor 'scam': Kavitha threatened S C Reddy to pay money to AAP, CBI tells court

NEW DELHI: The CBI has told a special court here that Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha had allegedly "threatened" Aurobindo Pharma promoter Sharath Chandra Reddy to pay an amount of Rs 25 crore to the AAP for the five retail zones allotted to his firm under the Delhi government's excise policy.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Kavitha had told Reddy that in case he does not pay the amount to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital, his business will be harmed in Telangana and Delhi.

Reddy, who was an accused in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged liquor scam in Delhi, had turned an approver in the case that is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The CBI is yet to file a chargesheet against him.

Seeking the BRS leader's custodial interrogation, the CBI told Special Judge Kaveri Baweja that it was at the "insistence and assurance" of Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, that Reddy got involved in the liquor business in Delhi.

Kavitha had allegedly assured Reddy that she had contacts in the Delhi government and that she would help him in the liquor business in the national capital under the now-scrapped excise policy.

"Kavitha further told Sharath Chandra Reddy that the payments of upfront money of Rs 25 crore for wholesale business and Rs 5 crore for each retail zone were to be made to the Aam Aadmi Party for getting liquor business and the same was to be paid to her associates, Arun R Pillai and Abhishek Boinpally, who would in turn coordinate with Vijay Nair, who was a representative of (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal," the CBI told the court on Friday.

The court has sent Kavitha to the CBI's custody till April 15.

According to the agency, in March and May 2021, when the excise policy was being formulated, Pillai, Boinpally and Butchibabu Gorantla stayed at the Hotel Oberoi in Delhi to swing the policy in their favour through Nair by inserting provisions.

After receiving the assurance of support from Kavitha, Aurobindo Reality and Infrastructure Private Limited paid Rs 80 lakh to her NGO, Telangana Jagruthi, under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in March 2021, the CBI has alleged.

"The investigation has further revealed that in June-July 2021, K Kavitha had compelled Sharath Chandra Reddy to enter into a sale agreement with her for an agricultural land situated at Mahboob Nagar, Telangana, although he was not keen to purchase the said agricultural land and also not aware of the value of the said land," it has said.

Kavitha "insisted" that Reddy pay Rs 14 crore against the land and "forced" him to enter into the sale agreement through Mahira Ventures Private Limited, one of the Aurobindo Group companies, in July 2021, the CBI has told the court, citing Reddy's statement and its investigation so far.

It said the total payment of Rs 14 crore was made to Kavitha through bank transactions Rs 7 crore in July 2021 and another Rs 7 crore in mid-November 2021.

The agency has alleged that in November and December of 2021, Kavitha asked Reddy to pay Rs 25 crore (Rs 5 crore per zone for the five retail zones allotted to him).

The BRS leader had claimed that she herself had paid Rs 100 crore as upfront money on Reddy's behalf to the AAP through Nair for getting favourable provisions in the excise policy.

"However, when Sarath Chandra Reddy showed his reluctance to pay the demanded money, K Kavitha threatened Sarath Chandra Reddy to harm his business in Telangana and Delhi under the excise policy," the agency has alleged, citing Reddy's statement.

The AAP alleged on March 24 that Reddy's company had given Rs 59.5 crore to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through electoral bonds.

"The companies owned by Sarath Reddy bought electoral bonds and donated money to the BJP. Now, this money trail has been exposed in front of the country. Reddy purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 4.5 crore while the excise policy was being formulated and after his arrest, he purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 55 crore and the money went to the BJP. So the money trail that has been sought for the past two years is here," Delhi minister Atishi had alleged.

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