Delhi Excise policy scam | SC to hear Kavitha’s plea against ED summons on March 24

The lawyer said the case presents the question of whether a woman can be summoned to the ED office

March 15, 2023 02:07 pm | Updated 06:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI

BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha.

BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to list on March 24 a plea by Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha challenging a summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The lawyer said the case presents the question of whether a woman can be summoned to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office. The counsel said it was "completely against the law".

But the court did not provide an immediate hearing, while repeating to the lawyer that the case would be listed on March 24 before an appropriate Bench.

Ms. Kavitha, who is the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, was questioned on March 11. She was summoned by the ED again on March 16.

The BRS legislator has argued that the ED summons amounted to a clear violation of Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires that a woman need not appear as a witness before a police officer anywhere other than her own residence.

She argued that the ED summons was an intimidatory tactic. Ms. Kavitha alleged she was compelled to produce her mobile phone and was questioned after sunset the last time. She said her personal details had also been outed.

The petition said there was no case against the legislator. She has been implicated in the case on the basis of statements extracted out of certain persons using coercion, it said.

Ex auditor deposed before ED

Butchibabu Gorantla, alleged to be a former auditor of Ms. Kavitha, was questioned and confronted with the statements of another arrested accused by the ED on Wednesday in the Delhi Excise policy money laundering case, officials said.

Mr. 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. Mr. Pillai is also alleged to be linked to Ms. Kavitha, a BRS MLC.

The agency recently informed a local court that Mr. Pillai and Mr. 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.

Mr. Nair, a communication in charge of AAP, was arrested by the ED in this case earlier.

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