Law & Judiciary

    SC adjourns hearing on K Kavitha's bail plea against ED summons

    The Hawk
    March15/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Supreme Court's Adjournment of K Kavitha's ED Summons Hearing Amid Allegations of Political Interference and Legal Wrangling.

    SC adjourns hearing on K Kavitha's bail plea

    New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing till March 19 on Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha's plea against ED summons in connection with the Delhi excise policy irregularities matter.

    A bench of justices, Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal, deferred the hearing on various pleas filed by different political leaders against ED summons.

    In the meantime, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju objected to the adjournment sought by the party concerned in the case and said that an interim stay cannot be extended from time to time. He also said that now the ED will give them 10 days' notice before issuing a summons.

    The court also clarified that it will not keep extending interim relief on appearances from time to time and will consider this issue on March 19.

    Besides K Kavitha, the court was dealing with TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee's plea against ED summons in connection with a recruitment irregularities case in West Bengal.

    ED had earlier assured the top court that they would not assist Kavitha's appearance before the next date of hearing.

    The court was hearing Kavitha's plea against the ED summons. Kavitha was quizzed by the ED in connection with a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy irregularities matter.

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    K Kavitha, who is the daughter of Telangana former Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in her plea challenging the summons issued by the ED against her, said, as per norms, a woman cannot be summoned for questioning before the ED in office and questioning should take place at her residence.

    Her lawyer had argued earlier that whether she needs to be interrogated at home or in Delhi, the Court is seized of and has issued a notice in similar petitions of Nalini Chidambaram and Abhishek Banerjee.

    ED had said that Section 160 CrPC will not apply in PMLA cases as per the Supreme Court judgement in the Vijay Madanlal Choudhary matter.

    In a petition filed through advocate Vandana Sehgal, Kavitha has urged the top court to quash the ED summons dated March 7 and 11, stating that asking her to appear before the agency office instead of her residence is contrary to the settled tenets of criminal jurisprudence and thus wholly unsustainable in law, being violative of the Proviso to Section 160 of Cr.P.C.

    She has also sought that all procedures carried out by ED, including those about the recording of statements, be audio or videographed in the presence of her lawyer at a visible distance, inter alia, by way of the installation of appropriate CCTV cameras.

    She has also sought to set aside the impounding order dated March 11, 2023, and declare the seizure made thereunder null and void.

    In the petition, she said, "Despite the petitioner, Kavitha, not being named in the FIR, certain members of the incumbent ruling political party at the Center made scandalous statements linking the petitioner to the Delhi Excise Policy and the said FIR."

    "The political conspiracy against the petitioner (K Kavitha) unfortunately did not end with judicial intervention by way of the suit. The Enforcement Directorate filed a remand application against one of the accused on November 30, 2022, before the concerned court. This remand application contained the personal contact details of the petitioner. There was no rhyme or reason to include the personal contact details of the petitioner in a remand application, which did not even concern the petitioner. The act is all the more egregious considering the petitioner is a lady," the BRS leader said.

    "The subsequent events are extremely shameful and, in the belief of the petitioner, were orchestrated by the Enforcement Directorate at the behest of the members of the incumbent ruling party at the Center as part of a larger conspiracy against the petitioner," she said.

    K. Kavitha further added that the said remand application containing the contact details of the petitioner was leaked to the media and the public.

    "The remand application was shared extensively over social media. Such an act is petty, illegal, and an unfortunate reflection of the malicious conduct of the Enforcement Directorate in consonance with the political party in power at the Center," Kavitha said.

    Kavitha said that ED has also denied her request to be examined at her residence, and the probe agency made a categorical statement that "there is no provision under the PMLA for the recording of statements at any person's residence."

    "That immediately thereafter, on March 8, 2023, at 11:03 pm, the petitioner sent an email asserting her rights to be examined at her residence. However, the petitioner, after reserving her rights, intimated to the respondent that she would appear before them on March 11, 2023," Kavitha added.