According to those with knowledge of the situation, the Supreme Court rejected Kalvakuntla Kavitha's request for an urgent hearing on her petition challenging the summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam on Wednesday. Kalvakuntla Kavitha is the president of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the daughter of Chandrashekar Rao, the chief minister of Telangana.
On Thursday, Kavitha, who would be questioned by the ED at its Delhi office for a second time, filed a plea with the Supreme Court asking for certain safeguards to be afforded to her during the interview and for instructions to be given to the investigating authorities to that effect.
Nevertheless, a Supreme Court panel made up of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and judge P S Narasimha declined to give Kavitha's appeal an urgent hearing or to suspend the ED's summons, urging her to appear before the panel on March 16. The case was set for March 24 by the bench.
Kavitha expressed concerns in her petition, a copy of which was obtained by HT, that the ED might use highly coercive methods and even third-degree measures in connection with their alleged investigations, as was the case in the case of a person associated with an accused in the Delhi liquor policy case.
If I am asked to visit their office once again in relation to the alleged inquiry, I really believe that I will be physically and psychologically coerced by the Enforcement Directorate, she said.
According to Section 160 of the Criminal Process Act, under which the BRS legislator was summons, no woman shall be obliged to appear as a witness at any location other than the place in which she lives, Kavitha's attorney Vandana Sehgal cited a number of examples.
She was informed by ED officials during her initial interrogation on March 11 that she would be questioned in front of one of the apprehended suspects in the case, but nothing of the kind had occurred.
While Kavitha claimed that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) did not compel her to do so, she was allegedly forced to provide her mobile phone. She contended that it was against the norms for the ED officials to confiscate her phone and interview her till 8.30 p.m.
The BRS member said that she was implicated based on specific remarks made by a small number of people who were purportedly engaged in the case, despite the fact that her name did not appear in any of the first information reports (FIRs) submitted in the Delhi liquor policy case.
According to the fact that one Arun Ramachandran Pillai withdrew his testimony on March 10, such declarations have been obtained under duress and threat. The veracity of the alleged claims made against me is seriously questioned, Kavitha said in the suit.
The daughter of the chief minister sought that the Supreme Court order the ED officials to examine her at her home, permit visible distance filming of her interrogation, and question her with the other suspects detained in the case.