Delhi liquor scam case: ED questions BRS MLC Kavitha for over 10 hrs in round 2

BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha was on Monday questioned for over 10 and a half hours by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) at its office in New Delhi in the Delhi liquor scam case


NEW DELHI: Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha was on Monday questioned for more than 10 and a half hours by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) at its office in New Delhi in the Delhi liquor scam case. This was the second time she faced the agency’s questioning in the case. She was earlier quizzed on March 11, amid high tension. She was also reportedly asked by the ED to appear again for questioning at 11 am on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Emerging out of the ED office after a marathon questioning session, Kavitha looked relaxed and composed. She flashed the victory sign to the waiting leaders and followers of the BRS before getting into her car. She was accorded a warm welcome by her party activists as soon as she reached KCR's official residence on Tughlak Road in the national capital.

The questioning began after 11 am soon after Kavitha’s arrival at the ED office. She was seen off by her husband Anil and others before she stepped inside the ED office. According to some reports, the ED team used the confrontation method to grill Kavitha in the presence of Arun Ramachandran Pillai, another accused in the case.

The joint quizzing reportedly went on for over three hours during the day following which Arun Ramachandran Pillai was produced again in the Delhi Rouse Avenue Court since Monday was the last day of his custody. The court subsequently extended Pillai’s judicial remand till April 3, 2023. He was later shifted to the Tihar Jail. In a similar development, the custody of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was also extended till April 3.

In the evening, Kavitha was also reportedly questioned in the presence of Manish Sisodia and his alleged key associate Amith Arora. This process too went on for a few hours.

As Kavitha’s questioning and documentation process stretched beyond 6:30 pm, a team of advocates representing the BRS MLC also descended on the ED office. A team of doctors entering the agency’s office around the same time had the waiting media scurrying around for information amid speculation of some decisive action by the agency. But it was revealed soon that the team of doctors was requisitioned to attend to another accused in an entirely different case.

In another key development, as claimed by some unconfirmed reports, the ED also served a fresh notice to YSRCP MP from Ongole Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy to appear before it for questioning on March 21, 2023 (Tuesday). The MP’s son Magunta Raghava Reddy, one of the accused, was already arrested in connection with the liquor scam.

The ED securing an extension of judicial remand of Pillai and Sisodia is being seen as a precautionary measure in view of Kalvakuntla Kavitha’s petition coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court on March 24. Kavitha approached the apex court challenging the ED’s discretion to question a woman after 6 pm, which, she claimed, violated her fundamental rights. The Supreme Court, while admitting the petition, posted it for hearing on March 24.

Earlier in the day, there was also some speculation on whether the ED would wind up its questioning by 6 pm, as demanded by the BRS MLC in her petition to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court refused to hear the petition urgently while sticking to the scheduled date of March 24 and also did not pass any interim directions over the matter. Besides this, the agency is also perceived to be free, under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA), to conduct its questioning and investigation against an accused or witness regardless of gender and without any time restrictions.

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