Delhi liquor scam: As Raghava Magunta seeks bail on account of wife’s illness, HC orders her medical evaluation

The ED told the court that medical reports given by the petitioner have been verified but his wife's further evaluation should be conducted.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 22, 2023 | 6:30 PMUpdatedMay 22, 2023 | 6:30 PM

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Monday, 22 May, ordered a medical evaluation of the wife of Raghav Magunta, who is in custody in connection with a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam and has sought interim bail to look after her on account of her poor health.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, while hearing the plea by Raghav Magunta, son of YSR Congress Party MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, against a trial court’s 8 May order by which his interim bail petition was dismissed, said the medical examination be carried out at ESIC Medical College in Chennai within seven days.

The court had earlier asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to state its stand on the accused’s plea for interim bail.

Related: BRS MLC Kavitha’s husband figures in ED’s new chargesheet

Seeks release to help wife

The agency told the court that medical reports given by the petitioner have been verified but his wife’s further evaluation should be conducted in a hospital in Delhi or Andhra Pradesh.

The senior lawyer appearing for Magunta said he has no objection to the medical examination of his wife at a hospital in Chennai itself as she cannot be dislocated. He, however, said the accused should be released during that period in order to assist his wife.

Raising apprehension of evidence tampering, the ED lawyer opposed the prayer and said a medical examination in a government hospital was needed to ascertain the condition of the accused’s wife before he is granted interim bail.

The trial court had earlier refused to grant him interim bail, saying it cannot be ignored that the accused was being prosecuted for money laundering which is a serious economic offence.

The trial court had said it was not satisfied with the claimed history of Magunta’s wife’s ailment as nothing special or serious was stated about her condition in the documents placed before it.

Other family members of the accused can also take care of his wife, the court had said, adding Magunta has not contended that nobody from the family was available to discharge the liability.

The matter will be heard next on 29 May.

Related: K Kavitha’s ex-CA turns approver; second person in the case

Delhi Excise Policy case

In the last week of April, the CBI filed a supplementary charge sheet against the ex-deputy chief minister of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), Manish Sisodia, and three others, before the designated court in Delhi in the ongoing investigation into the alleged irregularities in framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD.

The three others included Butchibabu Gorantla, the former chartered accountant of BRS MLC K Kavitha, Amandeep Singh Dhall, director of Brindco Sales Private Limited at Kalindi Colony in New Delhi, and Arjun Pandey.

The case was registered on 17 August, 2022, against the ex-deputy chief minister, who was in-charge as excise minister of GNCTD, and 14 others for an investigation into the matter of alleged irregularities in framing and implementation of excise policy for the year 2021-22 and extending post-tender benefits to private persons.

Searches were also conducted at the premises of the accused at several locations, including in Delhi, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bengaluru, etc, which led to the recovery of incriminating documents/articles and digital records, the CBI said.

During the investigation, Manish Sisodia and a few others were arrested.

Among those in custody are Hyderabad businessmen Abhishek Boinpally and Arun Ramachandra Pillai, and Vijay Nair, the former communications in-charge of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is in power in Delhi, who is alleged to have coordinated the whole scam.

Related: CBI questions Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal; AAP stages protests

Timeline of events

Earlier, a charge sheet was filed on 25 November, 2022, against the then-CEO of a Mumbai-based private company and six others, including the then-deputy commissioner (Excise), GNCTD, and then-assistant commissioner (Excise), GNCTD.

On 8 February, 2023, the CBI arrested Butchibabu for his alleged role in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy, thereby causing wrongful gain to Hyderabad-based wholesale and retail licences and their beneficial owners under the Delhi Excise Policy for the year 2021-22.

Butchibabu is one of the close associates of BRS MLC K Kavitha — daughter of Telangana Chief Minister and BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao — whose name has also figured in the case.

He had earlier worked as Kavitha’s chartered accountant.

In September 2022, CBI and ED officials raided Butchibabu’s house at Aravind Nagar in Domalguda, his apartment at Sri Saikrishna Residency, and his office was also searched. Several files and documents from various companies were found.

(With PTI inputs)