NEW DELHI, March 15 (PTI): Butchibabu Gorantla, alleged to be a former auditor of BRS leader K Kavitha, was questioned and confronted with the statements of another arrested accused by the Enfrocement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday in the Delhi excise policy money laundering case, officials said.
His deposition comes a day before the scheduled second summons in the same case for Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, before the federal investigative agency.
Butchibabu was out on bail after the CBI arrested him in this case
The auditor is also expected to be confronted with the statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandran Pillai, arrested by the ED on March 6. Pillai is also alleged to be linked to Kavitha, a BRS MLC.
The agency recently informed a local court that Pillai and Butchibabu were staying at a Hyderabad five-star hotel in mid-March, during the period when the GoM report on the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy was being formulated.
“It has been revealed that the hotel’s business centre has been used by the said persons staying there,” the ED said, adding it has sought details from the hotel on this and it was awaited.
“It is crucial to interrogate Pillai in ED custody while confronting him with the hotel records so as to investigate the link between South Group (represented by Pillai, Butchibabu and another arrested accused in the case Abhishek Boinpally) and Vijay Nair/GoM (headed by former Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia) at the time of policy formulation,” the ED had said.
Nair, a communication in charge of AAP, was arrested by the ED in this case earlier.
Kavitha was questioned and confronted with the statements of Pillai on March 11 by the ED and she has been asked to depose again on Thursday.
The agency had earlier alleged that the “South Group” was a liquor cartel linked to Kavitha and others that paid kickbacks amounting to about Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21.
The “South Group”, according to the ED, “comprises” Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from the Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others.
The ED also alleged in Pillai’s remand papers that he “represented the benami investments” of Kavitha in the case. Pillai has sought to retract his statements made to the ED by filing a plea before a local court, a move agency officials had claimed was done “under pressure” from certain influential politicians involved in the case.
The court had adjourned for March 16 the arguments on this application filed by Pillai accusing the ED of forging his statements.
The BRS leader was earlier questioned by the CBI at her residence in Hyderabad in connection with the case.