NEW DELHI: BRS MLC and Telangana Chief Minister's daughter K Kavitha has filed a plea in the Supreme Court against summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate in liquor scam case arising out of now scrapped Delhi excise policy.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha posted her plea for hearing on March 24, upon a mentioning made by her counsel.
The court declined to grant her immediate hearing in view of summons issued for Thursday, March 16.
Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, appearing for Kavitha, contended that the petitioner, a woman, cannot be repeatedly asked to appear before the ED. Though she had presented herself on March 7, she cannot be asked to appear again on March 16, contrary to the law.
She claimed the Enforcement Directorate was trying to elicit false statements from other witnesses by threatening them of arrest.
Kavitha had earlier been also questioned by the CBI in the case lodged in 2022.
It was alleged Kavitha held benami investment in Indospiritis, a liquor firm involved in the scam. ED alleged Arun Ramchandran Pillai, one of the accused, represented Kavitha in Indospirits.
It was alleged the South lobby, which included Kavitha, bribed AAP government to formulate an excise policy to facilitate the companies to win the bids and to form a cartel and control the retail outlets in Delhi. Kavitha invested money through her benamis and took back the money from the company later after getting the licenses, it was alleged.
In her plea, Kavitha contended she verily believes that the investigation against her is nothing more than a fishing expedition being undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate solely at the behest of the incumbent ruling political party.
"The Enforcement Directorate, in teeth of settled law, summoned her to appear before their offices in New Delhi and has confiscated her cellular phone without any written order for production of the said phone," her plea claimed.
She apprehended that she would be physically and mentally coerced by the Enforcement Directorate to give self incriminating evidence.
"There is no case against the petitioner. The only basis on which the petitioner has been implicated is on basis of certain statement of few persons who have given incriminating statement qua themselves as well as allegedly against the Petitioner. However, such statements have been extracted out of threat and coercion, which is evident from the fact that on March 10, 2023, one Arun Ramachandran Pillai, have retracted his statement. The credibility of the statements purported to be against the petitioner is under serious doubt," her plea said.
Kavitha accused the ED of acting in "extremely shameful" manner and as per a "larger conspiracy orchestrated at the behest of the members of the incumbent ruling party at the Center".
She pointed out a remand application of one of the accused containing the contact details of the petitioner got leaked to the media and the public.
"The remand application was shared extensively over social media, especially by the members of the incumbent ruling party at the Center. Such act is petty, illegal, and an unfortunate reflection upon the malicious conduct of the Enforcement Directorate in consonance with the political party in power at Center," she alleged.
Delhi's former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, along with a number of accused had already been arrested in the case.
The CBI had first lodged the case on August 17, 2022 under Section 120B IPC and Section 7 of the PC Act, 1988. A total of 15 persons were specifically named in the FIR, including Sisodia, who was the Deputy Chief Minister as well as Excise Minister of the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) for various irregularities in framing and implementation of the now scrapped excise policy for the year 2021-22.
Later, the Enforcement Directorate also initiated probe into the matter.