‘I will cooperate fully’, says Kavitha on Delhi liquor policy

New Delhi: Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC and Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha, who has been called for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged liquor scam on March 11, assured of cooperating fully with the agency and said she will answer all the questions, adding that “if things go out of hand, then the courts shall be approached”.

While talking to ANI, Kavitha said, “I am ready to give all answers. The truth shall remain the truth. I am not related to this liquor policy. A lot of businessmen from Hyderabad have come here and invested. So they want that somehow my name is dragged into it.”

The Central investigation agencies have alleged that Kavitha benefited from the kickbacks in the now withdrawn liquor policy of Delhi, in which Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia has been arrested.

Reiterating her stance on the agencies functioning in the country, she said, “I will cooperate with all institutions, but there is no legitimacy and transparency in these agencies, be it CBI, ED or others. They are no more independent. In the last 10 years, the attacks on the opposition have proved it. The agencies are biased.”

“I will cooperate fully and answer all the questions but if things go out of hand, then the courts shall be approached,” she added.

Kavitha launched a scathing attack on Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and said that the opposition in the country is “oppressed” and “harassed” by the BJP for raising their voices.

Addressing a press conference ahead of her protest and ED visit, she said, “The double engine sarkar which actually stands for “Pradhani and Adani Sarkar,” works in the interests of only a few, and therefore the opposition is oppressed and harassed for raising their voices.”

In a statement, she said she will appear before the agency on March 11. “You can be assured of my full cooperation in the matter,” she said.

DK Aruna, BJP National vice President said, “Wherever there is corruption ED goes not PM Modi, they are scared of Modi as he said in 2014 before forming the government itself that they will not spare corruption. The investigation agencies are doing their job, wherever there is a complaint. What is the role of the BJP in this? “

Condemning Manish Sisodia’s arrest, the BRS MLC said, “I do not wish to comment on this. The behaviour of the agencies is absolutely unconstitutional. There was manhandling and we condemn the arrest. The arrest has been condemned by our party as well.”

“People should have faith that if a white colour crime is committed then the ED can be trusted. However, the people have lost faith after the actions of the ED. It is unfortunate that Mr Sisodia is arrested.”

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.

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.

This allegedly caused a loss of Rs 144.36 crore to the exchequer, which has been instituted on a reference from the Union Home Ministry following a recommendation from Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.

Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26 in an ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD).

The Special Judge MK Nagpal on March 6 remanded Sisodia to 14 days in judicial custody after noting that expiry of CBI custody in the case noting that the probe didn’t demand further custody of him at this time, but it may be sought later if required.

Meanwhile, Kavitha said that a hunger strike will be held in the national capital on March 10 and that 18 political parties have said that they will participate in the protest launched to seek introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the current session of Parliament.

Elaborating about the strike, Kavitha said, “The strike will start from 10 am and go on till 4 pm. Approximately 18 parties will join tomorrow. We expect the parties to keep their viewpoints. We will try and build up pressure on the government. We have also invited the Congress.”

“We have the complete list of the parties coming. I can share it. Yechury ji will start the fast. Priyanka Chaturvedi from Shiv Sena shall also join us. Apart from this, there will be several women’s organisations that have worked on this bill,” she added.

Urging that the larger political interest should be kept aside in the matter, she said, “Women make up 50 per cent of the country’s population and I have picked up their issue. The views of different parties on the matter are important.”

“This is an important and historical opportunity. The BJP has the majority, they can easily pass the bill,” she added.

MLC Kavitha requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Murmu to make the Women’s Reservation Bill a reality with 33 per cent reservation since the BJP still has sessions left before the completion of its term.