A Delhi court on Monday refused to grant interim bail to Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha in connection with the liquor excise policy case, Bar and Bench reported.

Special judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Courts had reserved its order on Kavitha’s interim bail petition on April 4.

Kavitha, the daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate from her Hyderabad residence on March 15. On March 26, she was sent to judicial custody till April 9 after the agency said that her further custodial interrogation was not required.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Kavitha, referred to Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and said that it allowed courts to grant interim relief to women accused in such cases despite the rigorous bail conditions under the Act.

He said that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader’s 16-year-old son was currently writing his examinations and would need his mother for emotional support.

“Think of the shock of the arrest of mother on child,” Singhvi told the court. “The ecosystem of a mother being there is different.”

Singhvi said that while the child is in Telangana, Kavitha’s husband is also in Delhi to fight the legal battles.

Advocate Zoheb Hossain, representing the Enforcement Directorate, said that the exception under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was entitled to women who lacked agency.

“It is not for a woman who is in public life and leading politician of the state,” Hossain said. He added that Kavitha was among the main accused in the case.

He said that Kavitha’s son who was writing his examinations had a father and an elder brother. “The young man is not alone.”

Hossain also alleged that Kavitha had destroyed evidence. “I have forensic report which shows how evidence was destroyed,” he said. “She deleted evidence in her mobile phone. This was done on the date she was issued summons.”

He said that Kavitha had said on March 11 that she will produce the phone at the next date. “On the next date she produced nine phones,” he said. “The forensic report shows they were formatted after March 11.”

He added that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader had denied the charges.

Hossain also remarked that the Enforcement Directorate was on the verge of a breakthrough in the investigation. “Any interim relief will derail the probe,” he said, alleging that the accused had already attempted to influence witnesses.

“We want to highlight that there is influencing of witnesses. Attempt is to make witnesses retract the statement,” he claimed. “A person has come forward and told us he was forced. There is destruction of evidence as well.”

The case

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging irregularities in the excise policy. The agencies have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party modified the policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.

The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that Kavitha, among others, conspired with senior Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his former deputy Manish Sisodia, to secure favours in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped liquor excise policy of the national capital.

Kavitha is alleged to be a part of a so-called South Group that paid “Rs 100 crore to the leaders of AAP” in exchange for favours through businessman Vijay Nair.

The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that about Rs 45 crore of this money was used by the Aam Aadmi Party for its 2022 Goa Assembly election campaign. The money allegedly reached Goa through a network of informal cash couriers with links to the Aam Aadmi Party and members of the South Group.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s Goa chief Amit Palekar has denied the allegations.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 on charges of corruption and money laundering in the case.