Excise policy: HC seeks ED’s stand on BRS leader K Kavitha’€™s bail plea

New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the bail plea by BRS leader K Kavitha in a money laundering case in connection with the alleged excise policy scam.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma granted time to the investigating agency to file its response to Kavitha’s plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 24.

Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary, who appeared on the behalf of the politician, urged the court to hear the matter next week itself, saying the reply of the ED has already come on record in Kavitha’s earlier bail application filed in the trial court which dismissed the same on May 6.

“They have to file a reply. I will issue notice,” Justice Sharma said.

The ED arrested Kavitha (46) from her Banjara Hills residence in Hyderabad on March 15.

The CBI arrested the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader when she was already under judicial custody in the ED case.

On May 6, the trial court had also rejected her bail plea in the corruption case lodged by the CBI in connection with the “scam”.

The alleged scam pertains to the alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 that was later scrapped.

While refusing to grant her relief, the trial court had said Kavitha’s role “prima facie appears as that of key conspirator of the criminal conspiracy hatched for the purpose of collection and payment of upfront money to AAP through co-accused for getting favourable provisions in the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22”.

“Her role in demanding the upfront money and the alleged payment thereof for favourable provisions in the Excise Policy have also been highlighted in the course of arguments and as discussed in the preceding paragraphs,” the trial court had noted.

In her bail plea filed in the high court, the BRS leader, also represented by advocate Nitesh Rana, said she has “nothing to do” with the excise policy and there is a criminal conspiracy against her, “orchestrated by the ruling party at the Centre with the active connivance of the Enforcement Directorate”.

She submitted there is no case against her and she is being implicated on the basis of witness statements whose credibility is under serious doubt.

“The Investigating Agencies are well aware that there is no substance in the allegation of the petitioner’s involvement in the alleged scam. The intention behind the purported investigation against the Petitioner is not to ascertain her involvement in the alleged scam, since it is painfully clear that none exists,” the plea said.

“The political masterminds are well aware that if the Petitioner can be connected to the alleged scam, it will bring her, and by logical implication, her father, the erstwhile Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana, into disrepute,” it added.

The bail application submitted that the grounds of arrest provided to Kavitha fail to show any “necessity” to arrest and being a woman and mother of two children, the “twin condition” with respect to forming a prima facie view under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for grant of bail do not apply to her.

“The arrest of the Petitioner by the ED is completely illegal as the same has been made in a grave violation of the provisions of Section 19, PMLA,” the plea stated.

“The entire case of the Respondent Agency is a figment of imagination based on uncorroborated section 50 statements which are even otherwise extracted out of coercion and duress. The Petitioner is not involved in generating or dealing with Proceeds of Crime,” it added.

The plea further said given the voluminous nature of evidence, the trial would take years to conclude and Kavitha cannot be allowed to languish in jail for an indefinite period of time because of the delay in trial as such detention violates her constitutional rights as an accused.

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