In a new twist to the tale, TRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha on Saturday, 3 December, sent a letter to the CBI seeking a copy of the complaint that Ministry of Home Affairs Director Praveen Kumar Roy had lodged with it in connection with the Delhi liquor scam.
It looks as though she has changed her stand after meeting with her father and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in the morning.
She had earlier said that she would meet with the CBI officials at her home on 6 December, as they had suggested.
She may now also exercise the option of challenging the notice, sent under section 160 of CrPC, in the Telangana High Court if she does not get the requisitioned documents.
160 CrPC vs 41 CrPC
As reported by South First earlier, the CBI could have issued her a notice under section 41 (A) CrPC.
Such a notice is issued to a person against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists that he/she has committed a cognizable offence, to appear before the police officer at a place as may be specified in the notice.
A notice issued to Kavitha under 41 (A) CrPC would suggest that the CBI already had credible information on her role. Also, unlike a 160 CrPC notice, she could be summoned anywhere under 41 CrPC.
If the CBI now issues notices under 41 (A) of CPRC now, it would weaken its position as it cannot make out an offence against her in a matter of a couple of days.
It would appear that Kavitha cleverly made the CBI issue the notice under Section 160 of the CrPC instead of Section 41 (A).
Related: 3 from Hyderabad in CBI Delhi liquor scam charge sheet
CBI in a bind?
Legal experts say that the CBI is in a difficult situation now as criminal conspiracy (being part of the “South Group”) and destruction of evidence do not come under PMLA, and only CBI can prove them.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), if it now has to act against Kavitha, has to necessarily build a prima facie money laundering case against her to take coercive steps.
In her reply to the CBI on Saturday, Kavitha said that she wanted the copy of the complaint to help her acquaint herself with the case so as to be able to answer the questions of the CBI officials better, at a time which would be convenient to her.
Kavitha chose to decide the time and date of her meeting with the CBI officials even after the premier investigation agency had asked her to answer their questions on 6 December, either at Hyderabad or Delhi.
As soon as she received the notice on Friday, Kavitha had said that she would see the CBI officials at her residence on the appointed date — December 6.
The CBI sent the notice to her soon after the ED filed a remand report in the Rouse Avenue District Court in Delhi on 29 November for Amit Arora, whom they had earlier arrested.
What the ED said
In the remand report, the ED mentioned Kavitha’s name, among others, as being part of a “South Group” which had paid ₹100 crore to Vijay Nair of AAP in the form of kickbacks.
The ED, in its remand report, also mentioned that Kavitha had used several phones and destroyed them later, which may have had evidence that would have helped it in its investigation of the case.
In her communication to deputy superintendent of police Alok Kumar Shahi, CBI, ACB, Delhi on Saturday, Kavitha said: “Copies of the complaint vide OM No: 14035/06/2022-Delhi dated 22/07/22 received from Praveen Kumar Roy of MHA may be provided at the earliest to enable me to acquaint myself and answer appropriately within a reasonable period of time. The date of our meeting can be fixed at Hyderabad after the receipt of the documents.”
As the CBI had sent her notice under section 160 of the CrPC to appear before it as a witness, it is believed that she wants to use the section to her advantage.
As a witness under section 160, she, as a woman, could see the officials at her residence in Hyderabad.
As the section is silent on who could fix the date for such meetings, she seems to have decided to take advantage of it and indicated that it would be she who would decide on the date and time of their meeting.