Delhi liquor policy case: Telangana CM’s daughter goes to Supreme Court against ED summons
A bench led by the chief justice refused to urgently hear K Kavitha’s plea and posted the matter for March 24.
Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court against her questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi liquor policy case, Live Law reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha refused to grant an urgent hearing and posted the matter for March 24.
Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi for over nine hours on March 11. She has been again asked to appear on March 16.
In December, she was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation for over seven hours.
The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating the money laundering aspect in the case, has alleged that Kavitha is part of the “South Group” that paid at least Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party through arrested businessman Vijay Nair.
On Wednesday, Kavitha’s lawyer, while seeking an urgent hearing of the plea, argued that her client was not named in the first information report in the case.
The lawyer also submitted that the summons asking Kavitha to appear at the Enforcement Directorate office in Delhi violate Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which says no woman can be asked to appear as a witness at any place other than where she resides.
“Can a woman be called to the office of the Enforcement Directorate?” her lawyer asked, according to PTI. “It is completely against the law.”
The Delhi government’s excise policy came into effect in November 2021. Under it, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. Earlier, four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores and the remaining 389 were private shops.
However, the policy was withdrawn by the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on July 30 after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI inquiry, alleging irregularities in the policy’s formulation and implementation.
The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation have alleged that the excise policy was modified to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and almost 185% profit margin for retailers.
Apart from Kavitha, others in the alleged “South Group” include Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, the YSR Congress Party Lok Sabha MP from Ongole in Andhra Pradesh, his son Raghav Magunta and P Sarath Chandra Reddy, the son of PV Ramprasad Reddy, who is the founder of the Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma.
The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that the “South Group secured uninhibited access, attained stakes in established wholesale businesses and multiple retail zones [over and above what was allowed in the policy]”.
The Enforcement Directorate has so far arrested 12 persons in the case, including former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia.