The Enforcement Directorate joint director in Hyderabad has written to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha, stating that they will open the mobile phones deposited by her. The ED authorities have requested that Kavitha attend or send a representative to their office. Kavitha has sent her party man general secretary Soma Bharat to the ED office to assist in the extraction of data from her mobiles.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court has tagged Kavitha’s petition seeking protection from arrest and challenging the summons by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case arising from the alleged Delhi excise policy scam with other pleas. A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi has stated that they will hear the petitions of Kavitha and others after three weeks.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal informed the bench that a similar plea filed by Nalini Chidambaram, a senior advocate and wife of Congress leader P Chidambaram, is pending on a similar issue of summoning of women accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju said after filing Nalini Chidambaram’s petition, a judgement was passed by a three-judge bench upholding the provisions of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act, which squarely covers the provisions for summoning an accused.
The ED had summoned Kavitha for questioning on March 11 and again on March 16. She was last quizzed for about 10 hours on March 21, which was her third day 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 Ramchandran Pillai, who has been arrested in the case, apart from those of a few others allegedly involved in the case, according to official sources. Kavitha’s statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Pillai was arrested by the ED earlier and has accused the ED of forging his statements. The ED had said 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 to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21.