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Delhi Excise Case: Kavitha Accuses ED of Violating Law; Defers 2nd Appearance

Kavitha has authorised BRS General Secretary Soma Bharat Kumar to appear on her behalf before the ED.

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Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K Kavitha has informed Enforcement Directorate that she will not appear in person for the second round of questioning which was scheduled to be held at the ED office in Delhi on Thursday, 16 March.

Kavitha had earlier appeared before the ED on 11 March, for questioning in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. The probe agency investigating the case has accused her close aides of having offered kickbacks to Aam Aadmi Party leaders to bend the Delhi excise policy (2021-22) to help their businesses reap profits.

On 16 March, Kavitha authorised her party Bharat Rashtra Samithi's (BRS) General Secretary Soma Bharat Kumar to appear on her behalf and provide ED with the documents that the agency's sleuths had sought.

In a representation to the ED, dated 16 March, Kavitha wrote:

"A bare glance at the summons issued on 16/03/2023 by your good self, I have been asked to appear "in person or through authorised representative." Since your good self have not chosen to exercise the discretion for calling me "in person," I am authorising Shri Soma Bharat Kumar...to appear on my behalf today, to handover this represention and the documents annexed hereunto."

Moreover, Kavitha has accused the ED of violating the "sanctity of law" while questioning her. Here's what she had alleged.

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Impounded Phone, Made to Wait, No 'Confrontation' With Accused

In the representation, Kavitha has told the ED that the first round of questioning was in violation of the "sanctity of law." On 11 March, the ED impounded her phone without bringing the reasons for the confiscation on the record, Kavitha alleged.

"Your good self chose to impound my phone despite there being no directive in the summons that I should bring my phone. Nothing was brought on record as to how my phone was connected with the alleged offence, if any."
K Kavitha

She has also accused the ED of exercising the powers under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) despite the fact that her phone contents are covered under the law of right to privacy.

Kavitha has further accused the ED of making her wait for no apparent reason. "I was made to sit in your good office even after sunset until around 8.30 pm when I was finally allowed to leave and was handed over the subject summons for 16/03.2023," the representation read.

It is pertinent to note that Kavitha has approached the Supreme Court with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) seeking a stay on the summons served to her in connection with the case. The court is expected to be listed by the SC on 24 March. Kavitha's representation has also alluded to the pending petition in the SC, as it read, "the outcome (of the writ in SC) must be awaited before any further proceedings take place with respect to the subject summons."

The representation has also pointed out that her presence may not have been required for the first round of questioning. While she was called to the ED office in person for a "confrontation" with the arrested accused in the case, this meeting and cross-questioning did not take place on 11 March, Kavitha has pointed out.

The representation read, "When specifically asked about the confrontation which was the specific purpose cited by your good self to call me personally...I was candidly told...that they have 'change of plans'."

While Kavitha has made her case before the ED, the central probe agency can reject her request and ask her to appear in person.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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