BRS leader Kavitha skips ED summons in Delhi Excise Policy case

16 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh

PTI03 11 2023 000049B National

The court has agreed to hear her petition in the Delhi excise policy case on March 24.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha on Thursday in connection with a money laundering case related to the Delhi Excise Policy. The BRS leader had petitioned the Supreme Court for an emergency hearing, claiming that because she is a woman, she cannot be summoned to the ED office and that the probe agency’s representatives must instead visit her. The Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal against the ED summons on March 24 but refused to grant her interim relief.

Kavitha did not show up for the third round of ED questioning, indicating to the agency that the case is still pending before the Supreme Court. According to sources, Kavitha has sent the documents requested by the investigation agency through her legal representative. The ED had requested that the BRS MLC appear before it today. Prior to her questioning by the ED, heavy security was deployed outside Kavitha’s Delhi residence.

The court has agreed to hear her petition in the Delhi excise policy case on March 24. Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that under the law, a woman cannot be summoned for questioning before the ED in office and that her questioning should take place at her home.

The advocate for Kavitha said that a woman is now being summoned by ED for questioning and that it is “completely against the law”. Kavitha’s lawyer raised the matter in front of a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and requested an urgent hearing on her petitions. The court agreed to schedule it for March 24.

The court asked the lawyer about the urgency of the matter, and the lawyer replied that Kavitha had been summoned to appear before the ED the next day. In a petition filed through advocate Vandana Sehgal, Kavitha urged the Supreme Court to quash the ED summons dated March 7 and 11, claiming that asking her to appear before the agency office rather than her residence is contrary to the settled tenets of criminal jurisprudence and thus wholly unsustainable in law, being a violation of the Proviso to Section 160 of the CrPC.

She has also requested that all ED procedures, including those relating to the recording of statements, be audio or videographed in the presence of her lawyer at a visible distance, for example, by installing appropriate CCTV cameras. She has also sought to vacate an impounding order issued on March 11, 2023, and to declare the seizure made under it null and void.

In the petition, she said, “Despite the petitioner, Kavitha not being named in the FIR, certain members of the incumbent ruling political party at the Center made scandalous statements linking the Petitioner to the Delhi Excise Policy and the said FIR.”

“The political conspiracy against the petitioner (K Kavitha) unfortunately did not end with judicial intervention by way of the Suit. The Enforcement Directorate filed a remand application qua one of the accused on November 30, 2022, before the concerned Court. This remand application contained the personal contact details of the petitioner. There was no rhyme or reason to include the personal contact details of the petitioner in a remand application that did not even concern the petitioner. The act is all the more egregious considering the Petitioner is a lady,” BRS leader said.

“The subsequent events are extremely shameful and in the belief of the Petitioner, were orchestrated by the Enforcement Directorate at the behest of the members of the incumbent ruling party at the Center, as part of a larger conspiracy against the Petitioner,” she said.

K Kavitha went on to say that the remand application, which included the Petitioner’s contact information, had been leaked to the media and the general public.

“The remand application was shared extensively over social media. Such an act is petty, illegal, and an unfortunate reflection upon the malicious conduct of the Enforcement Directorate in consonance with the political party in power at Center,” Kavitha said.

Kavitha said that ED has also denied her request seeking to be examined at her residence, and the probe agency made a categorical statement that “there is no provision under the PMLA for the recording of statements at any persons’ residence”.

“That immediately thereafter on March 8, 2023, at 11:03 pm, the Petitioner sent an email asserting her rights to be examined at her residence. However, the Petitioner after reserving her rights intimated to the Respondent that she will appear before them on March 11, 2023,” Kavitha added.