A Delhi court on Thursday extended Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till March 20 in the excise policy case.
Special Judge M. K. Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Courts noted that the ED has gathered some new details after a confrontation with Butchi Babu Gorantla, Hyderabad-based chartered accountant, on March 15.
The court further noted the ED’s submissions that these confrontations are not yet over as the same person has been re-summoned on March 17.
Gorantla is the former auditor of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter MLC K Kavitha, who was also summoned by the ED on Thursday.
Magunta Reddy was also summoned on March 18. Pillai needs to be confronted with him, said the probe agency.
The ED informed the court that Kavitha has been called on March 20.
The agency’s request for prolonged remand was contested by Pillai’s lawyer, Manu Sharma, who argued that such confrontations between the accused are a never-ending process.
The court had extended Pillai’s ED custody by three days in the case on March 13.
The ED had arrested him late night on March 6 post questioning him for hours in the case.
On March 10, Pillai moved an application before the same court seeking to retract his statements given to the probe agency in the case. This led to issuing a notice to the ED by the court.
His arrest marks the 11th arrest in the matter by the ED.
The probe agency 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 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.
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 interests, 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.
As revealed in the investigation, out of this amount Rs 1 crore was given to Pillai on the instructions of Kavitha.
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 was 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.
Kavitha is a member of the Telangana Legislative Council.