Delhi liquor scam: YSRCP MP Sreenivasulu Reddy turns approver in the case

Reddy is the fourth person from the South to turn approver, following his son Raghava, Sharath Chandra Reddy, and Butchibabu Gorantla.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 08, 2023 | 11:26 PM Updated Sep 14, 2023 | 2:23 PM

YSRCP Ongole MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy at a party meeting. (Supplied)

Following his son Magunta Raghava Reddy, YSRCP MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy has turned approver in the sensational Delhi liquor scam case.

The MP’s name figured in the case when the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the case, issued a summons, asking him to appear before it at its office in New Delhi.

Other approvers in the case

He is the fourth person from the South to become an approver in the case, following his son Raghava Reddy, Hyderabad-based industrialist P Sarath Chandra Reddy, and BRS MLC K Kavitha’s former Chartered Accountant Butchibabu Gorantla. Businessman Dinesh Arora also turned approver in the case.

It is learnt that Sreenivasulu Reddy disclosed crucial information to the ED officials, who are primarily focusing on the money transferred through hawala channels to strike a deal in the liquor business.

The ED earlier questioned Kavitha and others several times at its office in New Delhi. She handed over her mobile phones to the ED for examination.

Also Read: Court dismisses interim bail plea of Arun Ramachandra Pillai

The case

According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and undue favours were extended to license holders.

The Delhi government implemented the excise policy on 17 November 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.

Earlier, on 11 August, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Raghava Reddy. Raghava Reddy was arrested by the ED on 10 February, following a questioning session at the ED office in New Delhi.

Raghava was arrested based on information provided by two other people — businessman Gautam Malhotra from Punjab, and Rajesh Joshi, an aide of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) communication head Vijay Nair. Both Malhotra and Joshi were arrested by the ED earlier.

Raghava was picked up within a few days of Butchibabu Gorantla’s by the CBI in the scam.

Also Read: HC grants bail to YSRCP MP Magunta Sreenivasulu’s son Raghava

HC asked CBI for charge sheet

While hearing another petition regarding the case, the Delhi High Court, on 18 July, asked the CBI to place before it a copy of the charge sheet filed against businessmen Vijay Nair and Abhishek Boinpally in a corruption case related to the liquor scam case.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma was informed by the counsel for Nair and Boinpally that the copy of the charge sheet filed by the CBI before a trial court is not on the high court’s record.

“Let the copy of the charge sheet be placed on record. List on 6 October,” the high court said.

The high court was hearing the CBI’s pleas challenging the bail granted to Nair and Boinpally by the trial court. The CBI has also sought a stay on the trial court’s bail order.

The high court had earlier asked Nair and Boinpally to file their replies to the pleas.

Challenging the bail order, the CBI’s counsel had contended that every reasoning given by the trial court judge was “perverse”.

Nair’s counsel had earlier said that the whole jurisprudence has changed in the country and, now, it is jail and not bail. The counsel had said that the moment Nair got bail in the CBI case, he was arrested by the ED in the money laundering case.

Related: Hyderabad pharma firm director Sarath Chandra Reddy turns approver

Involvement of ‘South Group’

In its first prosecution complaint filed in the court, the ED said that Vijay Nair, on behalf of leaders of the AAP, received kickbacks to the tune of ₹100 crore from the so-called South Group, as termed in the statements of various persons recorded during the investigation.

Nair, who was A5 in the FIR issued by the CBI in the case, was the communication and media in charge of AAP.

According to the CBI, the prominent names in the South Group include Magunta Srinuvasulu Reddy, his son Raghava, and Kavitha.

Businessman Arun Ramachandran Pillai was arrested by the ED under the claim that he was among the three key representatives of BRS MLC K Kavitha.

Apart from Pillai, two other representatives of Kavitha are beauty salon chain owner Abhishek Boinpally and Chartered Accountant Gorantla Butchibabu.

Related: Kavitha’s name mentioned again in 4th ED supplementary charge sheet

Kickbacks to South Group

The investigation agency also said that kickbacks were paid in advance to AAP leaders through Vijay Nair by the South Group, as part of an agreement between them.

As against kickbacks that were paid, the South Group secured uninhibited access and undue favours, and attained stakes in established wholesale businesses and multiple retail zones, over and above what was allowed in the policy, said the CBI charge sheet.

To recover the kickbacks, the partners of the South Group were given a 65 percent stake in Indo-Spirits in collusion with Sameer Mahendru, the owner of the firm.

This partnership formation was directed by Nair on the assurance of giving the wholesale business of Pernod Richard to Indo-Spirits.

The South Group controlled Indo-Spirits’ stakes through false representation, concealment and proxies, the investigation agency said.