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SC tags BRS' Kavitha plea saying woman can't be summoned for questioning before ED in office
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday tagged Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha's plea saying as per norms a woman cannot be summoned for questioning before ED in office and her questioning should take place at her residence with other similar petition and listed the matter after three weeks.
A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi tagged the matter along with a similar petition by Nalini Chidambaram. The court listed the matter after three weeks and asked the parties concerned to file a note on the issue. Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha, who is the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in her plea challenging the summons issued by ED against her, said as per norms a woman cannot be summoned for questioning before ED in office and her questioning should take place at her residence.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Kavitha, said that whether she needs to be interrogated at home or in Delhi, Court is seized of and has issued a notice in similar petitions of Nalini Chidambaram and Abhishek Banerjee
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for ED said that Section 160 CrPC will not apply in PMLA cases as per the Supreme Court judgement in the Vijay Madanlal Choudhary matter
Senior Advocate Sibal said that this issue was not before Vijay Madanlal Choudhary of the PMLA case. He submitted that there is no procedure under PMLA for summons.
He said that the summons issued to Kavitha is for investigation and the PMLA says if there is no procedure then Code will apply.
Kavitha is being quizzed by ED in connection with a money laundering case related to Delhi excise policy irregularities matter.
In a petition filed through advocate Vandana Sehgal, Kavitha has urged the top court to quash the ED summons dated March 7 and 11 stating that asking her to appear before the agency office instead of her residence is contrary to the settled tenets of criminal jurisprudence and thus, wholly unsustainable in law being violative of the Proviso to Section 160 of Cr.P.C.
She has also sought that all procedures carried out by ED, including those in relation to the recording of statements be audio or videographed in the presence of her lawyer at a visible distance inter-alia by way of installation of appropriate CCTV cameras.
She has also sought to set aside impounding order dated March 11 2023 and declare the seizure made thereunder null and void.
In the petition, she said, "Despite the petitioner, Kavitha not being named in the FIR, certain members of the incumbent ruling political party at the Center made scandalous statements linking the Petitioner to the Delhi Excise Policy and the said FIR."
"The political conspiracy against the petitioner (K Kavitha) unfortunately did not end with judicial intervention by way of the Suit. The Enforcement Directorate filed a remand application qua one of the accused on November 30, 2022, before the concerned Court. This remand application contained the personal contact details of the petitioner. There was no rhyme or reason to include the personal contact details of the petitioner in a remand application which did not even concern the petitioner. The act is all the more egregious considering the Petitioner is a lady," BRS leader said.
"The subsequent events are extremely shameful and in the belief of the Petitioner, were orchestrated by the Enforcement Directorate at the behest of the members of the incumbent ruling party at the Center, as part of a larger conspiracy against the Petitioner," she said.
K Kavitha further added that the said remand application containing the contact details of the Petitioner were leaked to the media and the public.
"The remand application was shared extensively over social media. Such an 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," Kavitha said.
Kavitha said that ED has also denied her request seeking to be examined at her residence, and the probe agency made a categorical statement that "there is no provision under the PMLA for the recording of statements at any persons' residence".
"That immediately thereafter on March 8, 2023, at 11:03 pm, the Petitioner sent an email asserting her rights to be examined at her residence. However, the Petitioner after reserving her rights intimated to the Respondent that she will appear before them on March 11, 2023," Kavitha added. (ANI)