Even as a Delhi court heard former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s bail plea against the CBI arrest in the Delhi liquor scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) mentioned a few names to establish the link between the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and Telangana chief minister Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha in the scam.
The ED told the court that Sisodia's aide and Hyderabad businessman Vijay Ramchandra Nair "coordinated the whole conspiracy, while Dinesh Arora running a chain of restaurants in Delhi was "coordinating the kickbacks" and arranged funds from various restaurants for Delhi elections.
Matter being heard by CBI Judge M K Nagpal
The matter is being heard by special CBI Judge M K Nagpal who had sent Sisodia to 10 days of judicial remand and pending before him is the ED's plea to hand over to it Sisodia on a 10-day remand.
The agency also read out a statement by former auditor of Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi MLC and daughter of Telangana CM Kavitha, Gorantla Buchibabu. “He has disclosed that there was a political understanding between Sisodia and KCR’s daughter. She also met Vijay Nair," the statement read.
Pillai retracts statement, court issues notice to ED
Earlier on Friday, K Kavitha’s close aide Arun Pillai moved an application before Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court seeking to retract his statements given to the Enforcement Directorate.
The court has issued a notice to the ED over plea filed by Pillai, who alleged that the statements were recorded under force. The matter has been listed for hearing on Monday, March 13.
The ED has alleged that Pillai was involved in forming a cartel (now called South group) of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers which controlled more than 30 per cent of the liquor business in the national capital.
The ED named the said cartel, South group, which includes BRS leader K. Kavitha, Sarath Reddy, the promoter of Aurobindo Pharma, YSRCP MP from Ongole, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta and others.
All you need to know Pillai and South group
The South group was represented by Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpalli and Butchi Babu, the agency has claimed. Pillai is a partner in Indo Spirits with a 32.5 per cent stake and he represented K. Kavitha's interest, said the ED. Pillai and another person have revealed the same in their statements. Pillai on paper invested Rs 3.40 crore in Indo Spirits.
In exchange for kickbacks given by the South Group to Vijay Nair and AAP, Indo Spirits was made the wholesaler of Pernod Ricard which made it one of the most profitable L1.
Thus the fund of Rs 3.40 crore which used to show investment in Indo Spirits (a special purpose vehicle to recoup the kickbacks paid by the South Group and channel the illegal gains) is proceeds of crime, the ED added.
Dinesh Arora: He is a well-known name in the food industry in Delhi. Arora is associated with the industry since 2009. According to reports, he opened his first cafe in Delhi’s Hauz Khas area in 2009. His Instagram profile states that he is also the managing director of Chica Delhi, Unplugged Courtyard and La Roca Aerocity.
According to CBI, Dinesh Arora is the director of Radha Industries. Apart from this, Arora is also a committee member of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
In July 2018, Arora also started Eastman Color Restaurant Private Limited Company. According to the NRAI website, at present Dinesh Arora has restaurants in all major markets of Delhi. An accused in the Delhi liquor policy case, he became a government approver last year.
Gorantla Buchibabu: He is a Hyderabad-based chartered accountant, who is a part of ‘South Group’ that comprise YSRCP Ongole MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (MSR), his son Magunta Raghava Reddy, and BRS MLC K Kavitha.
This group was represented by Buchibabu along with Hyderabad businessman Abhishek Boinpally and leading pharma company director P Sarath Candra Reddy.
“Businessman Sameer Mahendru, in collusion with others, formed a cartel of retailer-wholesaler-manufacturer with Pernod Ricard, Benoy Babu, Vijay Nair, representative of AAP, Arun Pillai, K Kavitha, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (MSR), his son Raghav, Sarath Reddy, Abhishek Boinpally and Buchi Babu,” the ED alleged, adding that the ‘south group’ was represented by Arun Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally and Buchibabu.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)