Delhi liquor scam: ED examines Kavitha’s mobile phones in presence of her representative

The ED Joint Director opened the mobile phones in the presence of Kavitha's representative and examined the data in them.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 28, 2023 | 7:12 PMUpdatedMar 28, 2023 | 7:12 PM

K Kavitha, BRS MLC

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the Delhi liquor scam, on Tuesday, 28 March, examined the mobile phones handed over to it by BRS MLC K Kavitha when she appeared before it at its office in New Delhi a few days ago.

The mobile phones were opened in the presence of Kavitha’s representative and BRS legal cell general secretary Soma Bharat.

A notice was issued to Kavitha asking her either to appear personally at its office or send a representative on her behalf to open the mobile phones.

As she is in Hyderabad, Kavitha deputed Bharat to go to the ED office.

Related: SC tags Kavitha’s plea against ED with Nalini Chidambaram matter

ED Joint Director examines phones

The ED Joint Director opened the mobile phones in the presence of Kavitha’s representative and examined the data in them.

Following accusations that she damaged mobile phones and allegedly tampered with the evidence in the scam, Kavitha attended questioning at the ED office in New Delhi with the mobile phones she used earlier.

The ED, which is probing the money laundering charges in the case, questioned her for over 10 hours after she handed over the phones on 21 March.

Carrying mobile phones in two separate polythene covers, Kavitha came out of the residence of her father and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s house on Tughlaq Road in New Delhi and flashed it to the media.

Since the ED mentioned the mobile phone numbers of Kavitha in the remand reports of a few other persons, who were earlier arrested by it for their alleged role in the scam, she carried mobile phones with her to hand them over to the investigators.

On its part, the ED has also verified the previous mobile phones used by Kavitha with the help of experts to retrieve the data. It already examined the data in the existing phone used by Kavitha.

The investigators earlier decoded the WhatsApp chats of the persons who were arrested in the case.

Kavitha has now been questioned by the ED at its Delhi headquarters three times — on 11, 16 and 21 March — for a total of almost 30 hours.

Related: ‘ED forced witnesses to sign pre-dictated statements’

Kavitha and the ‘South Group’

In an application filed by the ED in a Delhi court on 30 November last year, seeking 14 days custody of businessman Amit Arora, the investigation agency named Kavitha, YSRCP MP Magunta Srinivasul Reddy, and a leading pharma company director Sarath Reddy as people controlling what it called the ‘South Group’ which paid ₹100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Vijay Nair in the form of kickbacks.

According to ED, they were represented by businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai — apart from Hyderabad businessman Abhishek Boinpally, and chartered accountant (CA) Butchibabu Gorantla.

The ED said the main arm of the entire Delhi liquor scam rests on the conspiracy orchestrated by the ‘South Group’, with the leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

On 7 February, the CBI which is also investigating the case arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, said to be the ex-CA of BRS MLC K Kavitha.

The ED sought and obtained permission from the court to grill Buchbabu, who is currently out on bail, in judicial custody.

When the ED arrested the former CA of Kavitha, it sent shockwaves as many feared that the ED was trying to build a case to reach Kavitha.

Related: ED provides more details of South Group role

ED grills Kavitha thrice

The ED summoned Kavitha Kalvakuntla to appear before it in New Delhi on 9 March. However, she appeared before it on 11 March citing some inconveniences.

On 11 March, grilled Kavitha, amid protests in Hyderabad and Delhi, a day after she held a massive protest along with Opposition parties demanding early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

On 20 March, ED sleuths grilled Kavitha for close to 10 hours.

They are said to have rained questions on her about her alleged involvement in the scam and the ₹100 crore in kickbacks paid to the AAP media in-charge and former Delhi deputy chief minister Sisodia’s representative Vijay Nair, and how she was associated with the company IndoSpirits of Sameer Mahendru.

She was grilled for the third time, that too for almost 10 hours, on 21 March.

According to sources, the ED officials examined the mobile phones that Kavitha submitted to them, saying that they were the ones that she had been using.

She submitted the phones to nix the officials’ claims that she had obliterated the data on 10 mobile phones she used to cover her tracks in the case.

Related: BRS MLC K Kavitha grilled for the third time