INDIA bloc

INDIA Bloc Leaders Huddle At Ramlila Maidan Against Kejriwal’s Arrest

Opposition leaders kept pouring in at the INDIA bloc rally held at the capital’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday to protest against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi liquor policy case.

Speaking at the Maha Rally, Aam Aadmi Party Minister Gopal Rai said that it is difficult to understand the need to arrest a sitting Chief Minister.

“Protests have erupted in the whole country after March 21. No one is able to understand why a sitting Chief Minister has been arrested. But it is not just Arvind Kejriwal. Before arresting the Delhi Chief Minister, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was arrested as well. With the misuse of the ED and CBI, democracy is under attack…,” Gopal Rai said at the rally on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters about the INDIA bloc’s rally at Ramlila Maidan, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said, “Democracy is being attacked. The whole country is standing in the favour of democracy. And we have come here to give the same message.”

DMK MP Tiruchi N Siva said that Chief Minister MK Stalin could not make it to the rally owing to the elections in the state which is going to polls in the first phase on April 19.

“…The INDIA bloc is holding a big rally today. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned it is facing the parliament elections in the first phase, which is on April 19. So our leader and Chief Minister MK Stalin who was about to participate in this rally is not in a position to attend it. So he has delegated me to attend the rally…,” he said.

Congress MP Deepender Hooda who was also at the Maha Rally said, “This battle is to safeguard the nation, democracy, constitution, future of the nation, youth, farmers and women. This battle is for justice and truth. We believe the whole country will support the INDIA bloc in this battle. Everyone will unite to fight this battle.”

Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, National Conference Chief Farooq Abdullah, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and other INDIA bloc leaders were present at the rally in Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

The grand rally was also graced by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party (SCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren.

“…We are doing this to save the democracy of our country. The INDIA Alliance parties are gathering here and through this, we want to tell the people of the nation and those who have gathered here today that you have to come forward to fight for your democracy…,” Kalpana Soren said speaking to reporters.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren arrived in Delhi to attend the Maha Rally.

“This Maha Rally of the grand alliance is for saving the democracy and letting people know how the central government is promoting dictatorship,” he said.

Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Akhilesh Yadav said, “The BJP is being criticised all over the world after Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest… The Opposition and the ones who speak the truth are being attacked, the BJP is being criticised…”

Congress General Secretary KC Vengopal accused the central government of refusing to provide a level playing field to opposition political parties ahead of the elections.

“Now the Government of India under the leadership of PM Modi is completely refusing to provide a level playing field to political parties, especially the opposition parties. How can you ensure free and fair elections in this environment? They want to hijack the entire election process, which is why they are targeting only opposition parties and leaders. This is the biggest rally that we are organising against BJP…,” Venugopal said.

In reaction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, “Can’t trust Congress” remark, the senior Congress leader said, “The issue now is that there is no level playing field for political parties in India, especially opposition parties. The government is misusing the agencies. ED is now working like BJP goons, we are opposing it…”

Congress MP Pramod Tiwari said that the opposition and the people have come together at the Ramlila Maidan.

“The Opposition and the people have come together here. Now, it is BJP versus India. There should be a change and the dictator government should go now…,” Tiwari said.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21. He is in custody till April 1. (ANI)

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ED Issues Summons To Gahlot In Excise Policy Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Delhi Transport Minister and AAP leader Kailash Gahlot in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

According to sources, the probe agency has issued summons to Delhi Minister Kailash Gahlot for questioning in its ongoing money laundering case linked to Delhi excise policy.

The development has come after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the same case on March 21.

Earlier on Friday, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai announced that several prominent leaders from the INDIA alliance will participate in a rally at Ramlila Maidan on March 31 in support of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal following his recent arrest.

He said, “Reactions from the entire country came after the arrest of CM Arvind Kejriwal. The main leaders of the INDIA alliance will join the rally on March 31 in Ramlila Maidan.”

Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Akhilesh Yadav, Farooq Abdullah, Bhagwant Mann, Champai Soren, Tejashwi Yadav, Sitaram Yechury and many more leaders have been confirmed to join the rally, Rai said.

Hindu Sena on Friday filed a fresh petition in the Delhi High Court to remove Kejriwal from the post of Chief Minister.

In the petition, it has been demanded from the court that it should order Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor to dismiss Chief Minister Kejriwal from the post and run Delhi through the Central Government via LG.

A day after the custody of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was extended till April 1 by the local court, his wife Sunita Kejriwal, in a video statement, launched a WhatsApp campaign titled ‘Kejriwal ko Aashirwaad’.

The Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday extended the custodial remand of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by four more days in a money laundering case related to the Excise Policy.

In court, Arvind Kejriwal said, “The real liquor scam began post the ED investigation. The motive of the ED is to crush the Aam Aadmi Party.”

Kejriwal said in court that the case has been going on for two years and no allegations have been proven.

Meanwhile, a protest will be held by the INDIA bloc outside the BJP headquarters in the national capital tomorrow against the arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Congress, AAP, and the Left parties will participate in the demonstration. (ANI)

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Arvind Kejriwal Winter Action Delhi Planning Department

Subsidies, Schemes To Continue Without Disruption: Delhi Planning Department

Days after the arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case, Delhi’s Planning Department said on Tuesday that public services, social welfare schemes and subsidies provided by the government in the national capital have been “not at all affected.”

In an order, released as a press note, Secretary (Planning) Niharika Rai asked people to “stay away from rumour mongers,” who would try to “take advantage” of the situation “by spreading misinformation”.

“It has been brought to the notice that speculations and rumours are being spread by notorious elements with vested interests in Delhi that with the arrest remand of Chief Minister of GNCTD by Enforcement Directorate on 21 March, 2024, welfare schemes and subsidies given by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi will be stopped,” the statement said.

Rai said that even as the law takes its course in the criminal investigation process, it merits clarification that the administration of schemes and governance are not specific to individuals and will continue as usual.

“Social welfare schemes are funded with public money through the consolidated fund backed by budgetary allocations. Social welfare funds are neither the personal property of any individual or political entity nor funded by an individual or entity’s personal money. There is an architecture of civil services and processes laid down in Delhi which continues as usual. Hence, these public services, social welfare schemes and subsidies are not at all affected by the arrest /remand of Hon’ble Chief Minister,” the statement read.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj today said that despite being in ED custody, Kejriwal issued a order instructing Bharadwaj to address health issues in the national capital.

On Sunday, Delhi minister Atishi read out an order issued by Kejriwal from custody in which the jailed chief minister raises concerns on the water and sewage issues in the national capital.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Kejriwal on March 21 in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case linked to a money laundering case. He was on March 22 remanded to custody of the ED for seven days, i.e., till March 28.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

The case arose out of a report submitted by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena in July 2022, pointing to alleged procedural lapses in the formulation of the policy.

The report said “arbitrary and unilateral decisions” taken by Sisodia in his capacity as Excise Minister had resulted in “financial losses to the exchequer” estimated at more than Rs 580 crore.

This report was referred to the CBI, and led to Sisodia’s arrest.

The ED alleged that the “scam” was to give the wholesale liquor business to private entities and fix a 12 per cent margin, for a 6 per cent kickback.

In its first prosecution complaint in November 2021, the ED said the policy was “formulated with deliberate loopholes” that “promoted cartel formations through the back door” to benefit AAP leaders. The ED also alleged that AAP leaders received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore from a group of individuals identified as the “South Group.” (ANI)

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Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha

Delhi Court Sends K Kavitha To Judicial Custody

The Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha to Judicial Custody till April 9, 2024. She was arrested recently in connection with Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case.

The Special Judge Kaveri Baweja, while sending her to Tihar Jail for 14 days, also fixed hearing on Interim bail plea for April 1, 2024.

Kavitha appeared in court through Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari, along with Advocates Nitesh Rana, Mohit Rao and Deepak Nagar She had moved an interim bail application, citing that examinations of her 16-year-old son are about to begin.

Enforcement Directorate, while requesting that the court send her to Judicial custody, stated that the arrestee (Kavitha) is highly influential and there is every likelihood that the arrestee will influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence if released, which may hamper the ongoing investigation.

The department is still further investigating the role of the arrestee in the instant matter and is unearthing the further proceeds of crime and identifying the other persons who are involved or connected with the process or activities related to proceeds of crime.

Investigation into economic crimes is more complex than ordinary crimes as economic offenders are resourceful and influential persons having deep roots in the society and commit the said crimes in a carefully planned and meticulous manner, thereby rendering the investigation process a complicated exercise.

Advocates Zoheb Hossain, Naveen Kumar Matta and Simon Benjamin appeared for Enforcement Directorate in the matter.

During the hearing today, the accused, K Kavitha was produced physically before the court. She was produced at the end of ED remand period.

Directorate of Enforcement (ED) arrested K Kavitha MLC, Telangana Legislative Council on March 15, 2024, in the case of Delhi Liquor Policy Scam. A search was also conducted at the residence of K Kavitha in Hyderabad on March 15, 2024. During the search proceedings, the ED officials were obstructed by the relatives and associates of K Kavitha, said ED through a statement.

ED has alleged that K Kavitha along with others conspired with the top leaders of AAP including Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia for getting favours in the Delhi Excise policy-formulation and implementation. In exchange of these favours, she was involved in paying Rs. 100 Crore to the leaders of AAP.

Through acts of corruption and conspiracy in the formulation and implementation of Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, a continuous stream of illegal funds in the form of kickback, from the wholesalers was generated for the AAP. Further, K Kavitha and her associates were to recover the proceeds of crime paid in advance to AAP and to further generate profits/proceeds of crime from this entire conspiracy, stated ED.

Till date, the ED has conducted searches on 245 locations across the country, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and other places. 15 people, including Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Vijay Nair from AAP, have been arrested in the case so far.

ED has filed 1 prosecution complaint and 5 supplementary complaints in the case so far.

Further, out of the proceeds of crime generated, assets worth Rs. 128.79 crore have been traced so far and have been attached via provisional attachment orders dated 24.01.2023 and July 3, 2023. Both the attachment orders have been confirmed by the adjudicating authority in New Delhi.

ED has filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing an FIR taking cognizance of a CBI case that was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor.

The CBI inquiry was recommended based on the findings of the Delhi Chief Secretary’s report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials said.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection, the probe agencies said.

As per the allegations, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19, the probe agency said and there was alleged loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer. (ANI)

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Delhi BJP President Virendraa Sachdeva

Delhi BJP chief Detained While Protesting For Kejriwal’s Resignation

Delhi BJP President Virendraa Sachdeva has been detained while leading party’s protest demanding resignation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who is in ED custody in the Liquor Excise Policy case.

On Tuesday, BJP hit the streets from Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium to Delhi Secretariat via ITO. Police used water cannons at the BJP workers as they tried to march towards the Secretariat crossing the barricades raised by Delhi Police.

“The CM of Delhi is corrupt and dishonest and he has looted the people of Delhi. We are going to the Secretariat to demand his resignation… The government is not running from the jail. Just like AAP’s character, the orders are also fake… Arvind Kejriwal has to resign,” Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva told ANI ahead of getting detained.

“Arvind Kejriwal is in jail and he thinks he will run the government from jail. Previously, many chief ministers were arrested and they also believe the same… Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa had to tender their resignations after their arrests,” another BJP leader said.

He further said, “BJP leaders and party workers are protesting… This protest will not stop till Kejriwal submits his resignation. Arvind Kejriwal used to say he would never take bribes, bungalows, cars but he has taken all the benefits.”

BJP candidate from New Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency Bansuri Swaraj sad, “Running the government from the jail is unfavourable to the people of Delhi… I want to ask Arvind Kejriwal why is his soul asleep. You should resign based on ethics… They are doing press conferences to create false sympathy…”

Earlier, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protestors were detained outside Patel Chowk metro station while protesting against the arrest of its convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Among those who were detained were Punjab Minister and AAP leader Harjot Singh Bains.

AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said that the people of Delhi would continue to fight for Kejriwal.

“The people of Delhi are not able to understand how Arvind Kejriwal was sent to jail and Sharad Reddy was granted bail when both were booked under the same charges…The people of Delhi will continue to fight for Arvind Kejriwal” he said. (ANI)

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Official Secrets Act (OSA)

Delhi HC Asks Centre To File Response On Plea Challenging Ban On 23 Dog Breeds

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a response from the central government on a plea challenging a circular asking all states to ban 23 dog breeds posing dangers to humans.

Justice Subramonium Prasad issued a notice to the Centre. The matter was listed for further hearing on August 9. This petition was filed by Sikander Singh Thakur and others through advocates Nikhil Palli and Kshitij Pal.

However, the court, while admitting the plea, said the government circular was a policy decision.

Justice Prasad said, “We will examine the portion of the circular that mandates that even the current owner shall get their such pets sterilised.”

The counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the circular was ‘without rationale’.

“A high court issues a notice in this matter while the Karnataka High Court has stayed the circular (banning 23 dog breeds). A detailed response must be filed,” the counsel for the petitioner argued.

The petitioner challenged the circular issued on March 12 by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, asking all states and union territories to ban 23 ‘ferocious’ dog breeds.

The circular sought a ban on the import, breeding, and selling of the breeds, including Pitbull Terrier Tosalnu/ American Staffordshire Terrier Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentine, American Bulldog, Boerboel, Kangal, Central Asian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka)/ Caucasian

Shepherd Dog (ovcharkaJ South Russian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka) Tornja~ Sarplanina~ Japanese Tosa and Akita/ Mastiffs (boerbulls) Rottweiler Terriers/ Rhodesian Ridgebac~ Wolf dogs/ Canario/ Akbash dog/ Moscow Guard dog/ Cane Corso/ and every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog).

The notification or order also imposed a mandate on current owners of the said breeds to forcibly sterilise their pets, thus severely restricting their rights as pet owners and imposing undue hardships on responsible pet caregivers, the plea stated.

It added that the notification lacks scientific basis and is devoid of any research or reports supporting the purported cause of reducing dog bites or enhancing public safety.

The absence of substantiated scientific evidence or justifiable empirical data backing the classification of specific dog breeds as ‘ferocious’ renders the notification arbitrary ab initio, the plea contended.

“By failing to adhere to established scientific protocols or engage in comprehensive research methodologies regarding canine behavior, temperament, and risk factors associated with dog-related incidents, the impugned notification lacks the necessary credibility and

legitimacy required for such regulatory interventions,” it stated.

“Consequently, the arbitrariness inherent in the notification’s formulation casts serious doubt upon its validity and warrants judicial review to ensure adherence to constitutional principles of reasonableness, fairness, and evidence-based policymaking,” the plea added. (ANI)

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Kareena Kapoor Khan RCB WPL

Kareena Gives A Shout Out To RCB For Winning WPL 2024

Actor Kareena Kapoor Khan congratulated the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Women’s Team for lifting the WPL trophy by beating Delhi Capitals by 8 wickets.

Posting a picture of the RCB team from their victory celebrations, Kareena took to Instagram Story and wrote, “Congratulations queens (red heart emojis).”

On Sunday, RCB with a clinical performance clinched an 8-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals (DC) at the Arun Jaitley Stadium to lift their maiden WPL title. After the game, star batter Virat Kohli joined the post-match celebrations through a video call and had a chat with skipper Mandhana as well as the rest of the team.

In the post-match press conference, Mandhana revealed that she couldn’t hear a single thing Kohli said to her and she would meet and have a conversation with him in Bangalore.

“I didn’t hear anything he was saying because it was too loud, he was like just thumbs up and I just did thumbs up, I will be meeting him. He looked happy there was a bright smile. I remember him coming last year and a little pep talk which really helped me personally as well as the whole team. He has been a part of this franchise and I think he has been there for the past 15 years so I could see that happiness on his face but because of the noise I couldn’t hear him, maybe I will chat to him when we go to Bengaluru,” Mandhana said in the post-match press conference.

RCB’s spin attack weaved magic in the first innings to nullify DC’s explosive start. Sophie Molineux spearheaded the attack but the 21-year-old off-spinner Shreyanka Patil turned out to be the game-changer for RCB. She picked up a four-wicket haul and removed the tail within a blink of an eye to restrict DC to a sub-par total of 113.

“Shreyanka has been brilliant the first three or four matches didn’t go her way, I remember having a chat with her and she was really low about a few things and I remember telling her on March 17th that we were going to do something special and little did I know it is going to happen and she will get the purple cap but really really happy for her. She has been a really hardworking person because she has really worked hard and I feel she is the most complete player to come in the last two years in the circuit of international cricket as well,” Mandhana said while praising Shreyanka.

Coming to the final, DC won the toss and elected to bat with openers Shafali Varma (44 in 27 balls, with two fours and three sixes) and skipper Meg Lanning (23 in 23 balls, with three fours) providing the ideal start to the team with a quickfire 64-run opening stand. However, RCB bounced back to restrict them to a score of 113.

In reply, RCB comfortably chased down the target with three balls to spare and with eight wickets in hand. (ANI)

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Delhi Metro Rail Corporation WPL Finals

Metro Services Extended To Public Past Midnight For WPL Finals

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) announced that the Metro service from the adjacent Delhi Gate station (on the Violet Line) will be available for the public until past midnight following the Women’s Premier League Final at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday.

Taking to its official social media handle, the DMRC posted the service update on X, “To facilitate smooth movement of spectators after the conclusion of the Women’s Premier League Final tonight at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Metro service from the adjacent Delhi Gate station (on Violet Line) shall be available till 0015 hrs past midnight.”

As per the post, metro services will be available until terminal stations on all the lines. However, depending on the conclusion of the match, the timing may be further modified.

The Delhi Metro also wished the Delhi Capitals team the best wishes for the finals.

“Last metro extended till 12.15 am following the WPL Finals. Keeping in mind the safe travels back home for fans after the WPL Final, the Delhi Capitals and the DMRC have come together to ensure fans travelling home after the WPL Finals can take the metro as late as 12. 15 am. Delhi Capitals would like to express its gratitude to DMRC for helping facilitate the same and for their support,” read an image from the DMRC post.

The final of the second season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) will take place at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium between the Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday.

DC, who was handed a heartbreaking loss by the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the title clash of the inaugural season, will be looking to go one step better and capture the gold, led by multi-time World Cup-winning Australian legend Meg Lanning.

RCB, led by Indian star batter Smriti Mandhana, will also be having its eyes set on the gold.

Either way, one of these teams, who also have highly popular men’s teams, will put an end to the ‘trophyless team’ tag.

Delhi Capitals reached the finals directly by finishing at the top of the points table, however, RCB, led by Ellyse Perry and Asha Sobhana’s heroics, reached the title clash following a five-run win over MI in the eliminator clash. (ANI)

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MLC K Kavitha

K Kavitha Arrested By ED In Delhi Excise Policy Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday arrested Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha in Hyderabad in connection with the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case.

Kavitha was arrested after a day-long questioning followed by a raid at her Hyderabad residence.

She is being brought by an ED team here in the national capital. She would be produced before a special court in Delhi tomorrow, expectedly in the afternoon.

In the arrest order, the concerned ED investigation officer said: “I believe that Smt. Kalvakuntla Kavitha w/o Mr. D R Anil Kumar, residing at H. No. 8-2316/S/H, Road No 14, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telengana-500034 has been guilty of an offence punishable under the provision of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (15 of 2003).”

“Now, therefore, in exercise of the power conferred upon me under sub section (1) of section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (915 of 2003), I hereby arrest the said Smt. Kalvakuntla Kavitha at 05.20 pm on 15.03.2024 and she has been informed of grounds for arrest. A copy of the grounds of arrest (containing 14 pages) have been served upon her.”

The action comes almost two months after the ED issued summons to the 45-year-old daughter of former Telangana CM and BRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao.

She was questioned thrice in this case last year and the central agency recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The BRS MLC has asserted in the past that she had done nothing wrong and alleged that the BJP-led central government was “using” the ED as BJP could not gain “backdoor entry” into Telangana.

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation had also questioned Kavitha in this case. The ED case of money laundering was filed taking cognisance of the CBI FIR.

According to ED, Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, who was arrested last year in the case, “is one of the key persons in the entire scam involving payments of huge kickbacks and formation of the biggest cartel of the South Group”.

“South Group” comprises Telangana MLC Kavitha, Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Group), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (MP, Ongole), his son Raghav Magunta, and others, the probe said. The South Group was being represented by Pillai, Abhishek Boinpalli and Butchi Babu, the federal agency said in its investigation.

Pillai along with his associates was allegedly coordinating with various persons to execute the political understanding between the South Group and a leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the probe agency said.

Pillai has been accomplice and was involved in the kickbacks from the South Group and the recoupment of the same from the businesses in Delhi, according to ED.

The ED had earlier said that the South Group “gave kickbacks of Rs 100 crore” to AAP leaders.

Pillai is learnt to be 32.5 per cent partner in Indo Spirits, which had got an L1 licence. Indo Spirits is a partnership firm of Arun (32.5 per cent), Prem Rahul (32.5 per cent) and Indospirit Distribution Limited (35 per cent), wherein Arun and Prem Rahul represented “the benami investments of Kavitha and Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and his son Raghava Magunta”, according to the probe agency. .

In this partnership firm, Pillai represented the interests of Kavitha, the ED added.

ED has filed its first chargesheet in the case. The agency said it has so far undertaken nearly 200 search operations in this case after filing FIR taking cognisance of a CBI case which was registered on the recommendation of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor.

The CBI inquiry was recommended on the findings of the Delhi Chief Secretary’s report filed in July showing prima facie violations of the GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, officials had said.

The ED and the CBI had alleged that irregularities were committed while modifying the Excise Policy, undue favours were extended to licence holders, the licence fee was waived or reduced and the L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval. The beneficiaries diverted “illegal” gains to the accused officials and made false entries in their books of account to evade detection, the probe agencies said.

As per the allegations, the Excise Department had decided to refund the Earnest Money Deposit of about Rs 30 crore to a successful tenderer against the set rules. Even though there was no enabling provision, a waiver on tendered licence fees was allowed from December 28, 2021, to January 27, 2022, due to COVID-19, the probe agency said and there was alleged loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer. (ANI)

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Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Denied BJP Ticket, Harsh Vardhan Quits Politics

Day after being replaced from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat, which he held since 2014, with Praveen Khandelwal, senior BJP leader and former Union Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced on Sunday that he was quitting active politics.

“After over thirty years of a glorious electoral career, during which I won all the five assembly and two parliamentary elections that I fought with exemplary margins, and held a multitude of prestigious positions in the party organisation and the governments at the state and centre I finally bow out to return to my roots,” the senior BJP leader ppsted from his official X handle on Sunday.

On his future endeavours, Dr Vardhan said he wanted to devote more time to his work against tobacco consumption, substance abuse, and climate change. Also a medical professional, he also hinted at a return to his ENT clinic at Krishna Nagar.

“I shall continue to pursue my work against tobacco and substance abuse, against climate change and teaching simple and sustainable lifestyles. A big shout out for all those who stood by me like a rock while I clocked many firsts and led a fulfilled political life. I move on, I really can’t wait. I have promises to keep .. and miles to go before I sleep !! I have a dream .. and I know your blessings shall always remain with me. My ENT clinic at Krishna Nagar too awaits my return,” he posted further.

He said ‘service to mankind’ was his motto when he pursued MBBS at GSVM Medical College, adding that he forayed into active politics 50 years ago afrer being convinced by the then leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP ideological mentor, to take the plunge.

He said politics, for him, meant an opportunity to “fight our three main enemies–poverty, disease and ignorance”.

“Service to mankind was my motto when I joined MBBS in GSVM Medical College, Kanpur fifty years back with a desire to help the poor and needy. A swayamsewak at heart, I have always been an ardent admirer of Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji’s Antodaya philosophy of striving to serve the last man in the queue. It was at the insistence of the then RSS leadership that I jumped into the electoral fray. They could convince me only because for me politics meant opportunity to fight our three main enemies – poverty, disease and ignorance,” the BJP leader posted further.

“Without remorse, I must say that it has been a marvelous innings during which my passion to serve the common man was quenched. I served as Delhi Health Minister as well as twice Union Health Minister, a subject close to my heart. I had the rare opportunity bestowed upon me to be able to first work towards creating a polio-free Bharat and then to take care of the health of millions of our countrymen grappling with the dreaded Covid-19 during its first and second phases,” he added.

He said he was among to have been granted the “privilege to defend their people in hours of gravest danger”, adding that he can proudly proclaim that he didn’t “shirk responsibility but welcomed it”.

“In the long history of mankind, only a few have been granted the privilege to defend their people in hours of gravest danger! And I can proudly claim that I didn’t shirk responsibility but welcomed it. My gratitude to Ma Bharati, my reverence to my fellow citizens and my obeisance to the values enshrined in our Constitution. And yes, that was the biggest privilege that Bhagwan Shri Ram bestowed upon me, the privilege of being able to save human lives !!,” he said.

Coming out in praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former Union Minister said he was honoured to have worked alongside “one of India’s most impactful prime ministers in recent history”.

Affirming the country wants to bring PM Modi back for a third straight term in office, the BJP veteran said, “I would like to thank all my party karyakartas, my fans and supporters amongst the common citizens as well as my party leaders .. all of whom have contributed to this remarkable journey spanning over three decades. I must acknowledge that I consider it a great privilege to have worked closely with the most dynamic Prime Minister in India’s history, Shri Narendra Modi ji. The country wishes him a heroic return to power again.” (ANI)

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