New Delhi: A city court on Thursday extended by four days the ED custody of Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, an alleged frontman for the liquor cartel ‘South Group’ arrested in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy case.
The Enforcement Directorate has claimed Pillai is a close aide of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha.
The ED has accused the cartel of having paid around Rs 100 crore as kickbacks to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the liquor market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21.
Special Judge M K Nagapal extended Pillai’s custodial remand by four days till March 20 on a prayer by the federal anti-money laundering agency which has sought extension of his custody by five days.
The judge noted the central agency’s submission that following Pillai’s confrontation with Hyderabad-based chartered accountant Butchibabu Gorantla on Wednesday, some new details have come up and that Gorantla has been summoned again for further confrontation on Friday.
The ED also informed the court that YSR Congress Party MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy has been summoned on March 18 and Pillai and he have to be confronted with each other.
The ED said K Kavitha did not appear before the agency on Thursday and instead sent some documents through her representative which needed to be shown to Pillai.
It said Kavitha has now been summoned on March 20.
Advocate Manu Sharma, the counsel for Pillai, opposed ED’s plea for extending the accused’s custody, saying confrontations were a “never-ending process” and that Pillai had been questioned repeatedly.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Pillai on March 6.
Pillai had moved an application in the present court on March 10 claiming the ED forced him to sign two documents and presented them as his statements, including one in November 2022. His lawyer had sought the court’s directions to allow him to retract the statements reportedly recorded before the agency.
The ED had alleged in Pillai’s remand papers that he “represented the benami investments” of Kavitha.
It has so far arrested 12 people in the case, including former Delhi deputy chief minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia.