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No interim relief for Kavitha from SC against ED summons

Last updated on: March 27, 2023 20:40 IST

Bharat Rashtra Samiti leader K Kavitha on Monday failed to get any interim relief from the Supreme Court on her plea, seeking protection from arrest and challenging the summons by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, and tagged her petition with others.

IMAGE: BRS MLC K Kavitha. Photograph: ANI Photo

A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi said it will hear the BRS leader's petitions and other pleas after three weeks.

Appearing for Kavitha, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said, 'whether she needs to be interrogated at home or in the ED office is the issue which is seized of by this court and notice has been issued in petitions filed by Nalini Chidambaram and Abhishek Banerjee. I have more to say than tagging the matter'.


He informed the bench that the plea filed by Nalini Chidambaram, a senior advocate and wife of Congress leader P Chidambaram, deals with a similar issue of summoning women accused by the ED.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju said that after the filing of Nalini Chidambaram's petition, a judgement was passed by a three-judge bench upholding the provisions of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that squarely covers the provisions for summoning an accused.

The bench said it would be appropriate if all the petitions are heard together, and listed the matter after three weeks.

Mehta sought permission to file a detailed note on the issue, which the bench allowed.

On March 15, the top court agreed to hear Kavitha's plea seeking protection from arrest and challenging the summons issued by the ED.

On March 11, the 44-year-old BRS leader deposed before the ED to record her statement and was summoned again on March 16 for questioning. She was quizzed for about 10 hours on March 21, her third time of deposition before the agency.

The BRS leader has denied all allegations against her.

During her questioning by the ED, Kavitha was confronted with statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai, who has been arrested in the case, and a few others allegedly involved in the case, according to official sources.

Kavitha's statement was recorded under the PMLA.

Pillai was arrested by the ED earlier and he has moved a city court accusing the ED of forging his statements.

The ED had claimed that Pillai 'represented the south group', an alleged liquor cartel linked to Kavitha and others that paid kickbacks amounting to about Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21.

In Pillai's remand papers, the agency also alleged that he 'represented the benami investments' of Kavitha, who has also been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the case.

The ED has so far arrested 12 people in the case, including former Delhi deputy chief minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia.

It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes, a charge strongly refuted by the AAP.

The policy was subsequently scrapped and the Delhi lieutenant governor recommended a CBI probe, following which the ED registered the case under the PMLA.

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