New Delhi: BRS leader Kavitha K did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday for a fresh round of questioning in connection with a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy, officials said.
The 45-year-old daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao is understood to have communicated her decision not to comply with the ED summons to the investigating officer through an email.
Her lawyer, Nitesh Rana, told PTI on Monday that “there is a Supreme Court order that has said that the ED cannot summon Kavitha in this case”.
However, ED sources have said that the BRS leader had obtained a temporary relief from the apex court last year and it is not valid now.
The federal agency might issue a fresh summons to her. The sources said the ED will take a decision in this context soon.
Kavitha K or Kavitha Kalvakuntla was questioned thrice last year in connection with the case and the ED had 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 no wrong and accused the BJP-led Centre of “using” the ED as the saffron party could not gain a “backdoor entry” into Telangana.
The ED has recently issued a fourth summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the case. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been asked to appear before the agency on January 18.
The last time Kavitha deposed before the ED, she was understood to have been confronted with the statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman and an accused in the case, Arun Ramchandran Pillai, who allegedly shared close ties with her, apart from those of a 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 AAP to gain a larger share of the retail liquor 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 (former promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from the Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others.
The ED has also alleged in Pillai’s remand papers that he “represented the benami investments” of Kavitha in the case.
Kavitha was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case. The ED case of money laundering was filed taking cognisance of the CBI FIR.