SC to hear K Kavitha's plea against ED summons on March 24

By DECCAN CHRONICLE | Vujjini Vamshidhar

15 March 2023

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha agreed to hear the plea of Kavitha on March 24

NEW DELHI: In a major setback, BRS MLC and Chief Minister K.Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha who filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in the Delhi liquor policy case, was denied an urgent hearing on her appeal to stay the summons issued by the ED. The Supreme Court refused to grant an interim stay from attending the inquiry by the ED in the Delhi liquor scam. Following this decision, Kavitha is required to appear before the ED inquiry on March 16.

While refusing an immediate hearing, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to hear her petition on March 24 with regard to summons issued by the ED under the PMLA (money laundering case) in the Delhi liquor scam. The ED has summoned Kavitha to appear before it on March 16. The ED first questioned her for nine hours on March 11 at its Delhi headquarters.

Kavitha's counsel argued that she was not mentioned in the first information report (FIR) and petitioned that no woman, physically challenged person, or person under the age of 15 should be required to attend as a witness anywhere other than where they reside. She claimed that she was questioned by the ED till 8.30 p.m. on her last appearance on March 12, in violation of the law. She asked the court to order the ED to question her at her residence in Hyderabad or via video conference.

In her plea, Kavitha maintained that the ED had adopted coercive tactics by claiming that the central investigating agency had coerced her to surrender her phone and that she was interrogated after sunset at the ED office in Delhi, despite the fact that the statutes say that a woman cannot be questioned anywhere other than her home. Further, she said that ED officers pressured and threatened people arrested in the Delhi liquor scam case to make false testimonies against her. “This is evident from their treatment of another witness, E. Chandan Reddy, who was ruthlessly manhandled by personnel of the Enforcement Directorate and has suffered significant hearing loss as a result of the manhandling. “The ED officials demanded me to handover my cell phone and confiscated my phone, without any authority. How can the ED officials demand to hand over my phone, when the summons were issued as a witness,” Kavitha contended in her petition.

The statements were obtained through intimidation and coercion, as evidenced by the fact that on March 10, 2023, one Arun Ramachandran Pillai revoked his statement. The ED is soliciting false statements from other witnesses by threatening to arrest them and their family members. She claimed that the inquiry against her is nothing “more than a fishing expedition” conducted by the Enforcement Directorate solely at the behest of the incumbent ruling political party at the Centre.

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