Leaders of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party used the Delhi excise policy as a device to generate “illegal” funds at the cost of the exchequer and its communications in-charge Vijay Nair received Rs 100 crore in kickbacks on behalf of party leaders from a ‘south group’ controlled by some businessmen and politicians, the Enforcement Directorate informed a Delhi court on Wednesday. Nair was arrested by the ED in connection with its probe into the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.
“As per the investigation carried so far, Vijay Nair, on behalf of leaders of AAP has at least received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore from a group, called south group (controlled by Sarath Reddy, Ms K Kavitha, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy) by various persons including Amit Arora,” the ED said, adding that the information was “disclosed” by Amit Arora during the recording of his statement. Officials identified Kavitha as the MLC daughter of Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao, reported PTI.
In August this year, BJP leaders had accused K Kavitha of involvement in facilitating the Delhi liquor policy. Kavitha rejected the charge and said she would file a defamation case.
Following reports of her being named by the ED in the case, Kavitha on Thursday issued a statement saying she and her party leaders were ready to face any probe. “We state that we will face any kind of inquiry. If the agencies come and ask us questions we will certainly answer. But tarnishing leaders’ images by giving selective leaks to the media, people will refute it,” she said.
The agency further submitted in court that at least 36 accused, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and a PA of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, “destroyed or used” 170 phones in order to conceal evidence of “kickbacks” worth thousands of crores of rupees in the alleged scam.
“The policy was formulated with deliberate loopholes, in-built mechanism to facilitate illegal activities and is marred with deliberate inconsistencies which when looked deeply, reflect malafide intentions of policy-makers,” it alleged.
“This policy, though on the face of it, has promising and laudable objectives of stopping cartelisation and encouraging fair trade practices, in reality it promoted cartel formations through back door, awarded exorbitant wholesale (12 per cent) and huge retail (185 per cent) profit margins and incentivised other illegal activities on account of criminal conspiracy of leaders of AAP (Aam Aadmi Party),” it added.
The ED has claimed that the Delhi government “lost revenue of 12 per cent or Rs 581 crore…only to fill the personal coffers of leaders of the AAP and overall the total loss of revenue due to alleged irregularities in the policy stood at Rs 2,873 crore (including loss of licence fee)”.
The agency made these claims while seeking the remand of Amit Arora, director of liquor company Buddy Retail Pvt Limited, from a local court after his arrest on Tuesday night. The court on Wednesday sent him to ED custody till December 7.
“An attempt was also made to see that the evidence pertaining to the commission of this scam running into thousands of crores were either destroyed which would contain valuable digital data and material to prove further kickbacks,” the agency alleged.
“It is pertinent to note that major evidences with respect to the subject liquor scam were stored in digital formats both in mobile phones and laptops. However, as soon as the scam was unearthed and the case was handed over to investigating agencies, large number of digital devices were found to be destroyed/changed by the persons involved/suspected to be involved in this case,” the ED alleged.
At least 36 accused or suspects involved in the “excise scam” have destroyed or used 170 phones (as per IMEI analysis), it alleged.
The “magnitude” of the destruction is such that most suspects, liquor barons, senior government officials, the excise minister of Delhi (Sisodia) and other suspects have changed their phones multiple times, it said.
(With PTI inputs)