Delhi excise policy case: Kavitha unlikely to appear before ED on Tuesday

The BRS leader was questioned thrice in this case last year

[File] BRS MLC K. Kavitha at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Delhi | PTI [File] BRS MLC K. Kavitha at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Delhi | PTI

The Enforcement Directorate has summoned BRS leader K. Kavitha for a fresh round of questioning in connection with its probe into the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case, official sources said on Monday.

The 45-year-old daughter of former Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao has been asked to depose before the agency in Delhi on Tuesday, they said.

Sources, however, said that she may not depose before the agency and has communicated her decision to the investigating officer through an email.

"There is a Supreme Court order that has said that the ED cannot summon K Kavitha in this case," her lawyer Nitesh Rana told PTI.

ED sources said that the BRS leader had obtained a temporary relief from the Supreme Court last year which is not valid now.

She was questioned thrice in this case last year and the central agency recorded her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC has asserted in the past that she had done nothing wrong and alleged that the BJP-led Centre was "using" the ED as the saffron party could not gain a "backdoor entry" into Telangana.

The ED has issued a fourth summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the case and has been asked to appear before it on January 18.

The last time Kavitha deposed before the ED, she is understood to have been confronted with the statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman and an accused in the case Arun Ramchandran Pillai who allegedly shares close ties with her, apart from those of few others involved in the case.

Pillai, the ED had said, "represented the South Group", an alleged liquor cartel linked to Kavitha and others, that paid kickbacks amounting to about Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in the national capital under the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2020-21.

The "South Group", according to the ED, comprises Sarath Reddy (ex-promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others.

The ED also alleged in Pillai's remand papers that he "represented the benami investments" of Kavitha in the case.

Kavitha was questioned by the CBI in this case. The ED case of money laundering was filed taking cognisance of the CBI FIR.

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