Delhi liquor policy case: No relief from Supreme Court for BRS leader K Kavitha
She had contended that the investigation against her was nothing more than a fishing expedition being undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) solely at the behest of the ruling political party
NEW DELHI: BRS leader K Kavitha who had approached the Supreme Court challenging the summons issued to appear at the ED's New Delhi office in relation to the Delhi liquor policy case did not get any relief as the top court on Monday tagged her plea with other similar pending petitions.
Her plea was tagged by a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi with a petition that was preferred by Nalini Chidambaram, a senior advocate and wife of former Union minister P Chidambaram in the Saradha chit fund case in 2018. The court also adjourned the matter for three weeks.
Kavitha, in her plea while challenging the summons, had sought certain protections to her during the questioning and sought directions to the investigating officers to that effect.
Appearing for Kavitha, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said although she in the complaint was not shown as an accused, the summons issued to her under section 160 CrPC was for an investigation. He said, “He (ED) says that it’s an inquiry but I’m being investigated. The summons is for investigation.”
She had contended that the investigation against her was nothing more than a fishing expedition being undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) solely at the behest of the ruling political party. It was also argued that although she was not named in the FIR registered by the CBI alleging irregularities in the Delhi excise policy, certain members of the ruling political party at the Centre made scandalous statements linking her to the policy and the FIR.
“The Enforcement Directorate, in teeth of settled law, summoned her to appear before their offices in New Delhi and has confiscated her cellular phone without any written order for production of the said phone,” the plea stated.
She in her plea has also contended that she was forced to produce her cell phone whereas she was summoned under Sections 50(2), 50(3) PMLA which do not require production of the phone.
“There is no case against the petitioner. The only basis on which the petitioner has been implicated is on basis of certain statement of few persons who have given incriminating statement qua themselves as well as allegedly against the petitioner. However, such statements have been extracted out of threat and coercion, which is evident from the fact that on 10.03.2023, one Mr. Arun Ramachandran Pillai, has retracted his statement. The credibility of the statements purported to be against the petitioner is under serious doubt,” the plea also stated.
The ED had earlier filed a caveat in the Supreme Court wherein it had urged the SC not to pass any orders until it hears the federal probe agency.
Although she was grilled by the ED on March 11 in the money laundering case and was summoned by the ED again for the third time on March 16, since the SC had agreed to list her plea on March 24, she had skipped the March 16 summons. She in turn had sent her authorised representative Soma Bharath (a BRS party office bearer) who handed over to the investigating officer of the case a six-page representation against her deposition along with her bank statement, personal and business details. Since she had skipped the summons, she was again grilled by the ED for more than 10 hours on March 20 and was also summoned on March 21.