Sources said the ED is unlikely to accept this, and will insist on her appearance.
In a dramatic turn of events, K Kavitha, Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has decided not to appear before the Enforcement Directorate today. She sent BRS general secretary Soma Bharath Kumar to the ED office to inform them about her decision. What the ED will do next is not yet clear. Sources said the probe agency is unlikely to accept this, and will insist on her appearance.
Ms Kavitha was summoned by the probe agency for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the Delhi liquor policy case today, but had earlier approached the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing claiming that as a woman, she cannot be summoned to the ED office, and the probe agency’s representatives must visit her instead. She conveyed to the ED that the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
Ms K Kavitha’s lawyer had sought an urgent hearing, claiming her being called to the ED office is “completely against the law”. She hasn’t been named as an accused by either the CBI or the ED.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha had agreed to hear her request on March 24.
Her party, BRS, today put up a massive show of strength in Delhi. BRS ministers and top leaders have flown to the national capital in solidarity with K Kavitha, one of the party’s most visible faces.
Ms K Kavitha was questioned for hours by the Enforcement Directorate in the same case on March 11 as well. She was summoned for the third time today.
44 year-old Ms Kavitha has also challenged the seizure of her phone.
K Kavitha has alleged a political conspiracy behind the ED summons. Her party leaders have also said that the probe agency has become an extended arm of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BRS leader has alleged that she was summoned by the probe agency on the basis of statements made under threat and coercion.
Hyderabad-based liquor businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, who was arrested in connection with the liquor policy case on Monday night, and Hyderabad-based chartered accountant Butchibabu Gorantla, Ms Kavitha’s former auditor, were also questioned in the case yesterday. The investigators have linked Ms Kavitha with both of them, calling them part of the “south group”.
Notably, former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, accused of favouring a “south group” while framing the Delhi excise policy, has been arrested by ED in the same case. His bail request in the CBI case is scheduled to be heard in a special court on March 21.
The BJP has been targetting BRS on allegations of corruption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have repeatedly targetted KCR for dynasty politics and corruption.
Action against the BRS leader comes at a time when the party plans to go national, showcasing the ‘Telangana model’ to the country.