BRS condemns Kavitha arrest, announces large scale protest across Telangana on 16 March

While BRS leaders came down heavily on the BJP for allegedly misusing Central probe agencies, Telangana ally BSP blamed the Congress as well.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Mar 16, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedMar 16, 2024 | 7:00 AM

BRS condemns Kavitha arrest, announces large scale protest across Telangana on 16 March

Former Telangana minister and incumbent BRS MLA T Harish Rao told reporters at Telangana Bhavan on Friday, 15 March that he condemned the arrest of K Kavitha — a BRS MLC and his cousin — by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) earlier in the day in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the BRS announced a large-scale protest across the state on Saturday against the allegedly illegal arrest of Kavitha.

Harish Rao asserted, “The BJP and Congress conspired to arrest Kavitha for political gains in the upcoming Parliamentary elections. She is prepared to combat this both politically and legally.”

“The arrest is undemocratic, illegal, and immoral. Criticism is directed at the timing of the arrest, which occurred on Friday while the case was still pending in the Supreme Court, allegedly taking advantage of the court’s weekend recess. This timing is perceived as a deliberate political move aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the BRS,” said Harish Rao.

“The BRS strongly condemns the arrest, attributing it to a conspiracy involving BJP leaders who have made numerous statements about Kavitha’s arrest over the past year and a half. The arrest, coinciding with the announcement of parliamentary elections, is viewed as an attempt to demoralize the BRS party’s chief, K Chandrashekar Rao. Allegations of collusion between the BJP and Congress to gain political advantage in the elections are also raised,” he added.

Rao also said: “Our struggle lasted for 14 years. We are prepared to confront this situation both politically and legally. We intend to lodge a case against the unlawful arrest in the Supreme Court and pursue legal avenues to address it.”

Related: ED arrests K Kavitha on charges of money laundering

More BRS reaction

Kavitha’s brother and BRS working president, MLA KT  Rama Rao, posted on X (formerly Twitter): “Abuse of power and institutional misuse to settle political scores is something that has become increasingly common with BJP Govt in last 10 years ED needs to answer Supreme Court on the inordinate rush to arrest when the matter is very much sub-judice & up for review in a couple of days, on the 19th March. What’s even more appalling is the ED undermining its undertaking given to the Hon’ble Supreme Court Justice shall prevail and we will continue to fight legally. [sic]”

Former minister Jagdish Reddy also weighed in, concurring that Kavitha’s arrest was a political conspiracy. He criticised the sudden arrest, viewing it as a deliberate component of the conspiracy.

He contended that Kavitha, who received multiple notices, dutifully attended and cooperated with the investigation, even submitting her SIM cards.

Reddy also accuses the BJP of manipulating Central organisations and agencies for its benefit, and described such action during an ongoing Supreme Court case as undemocratic.

He alleged that the BJP employed such tactics to undermine its political opponents nationwide, and asserted that this abuse of power was going on against Opposition parties in various states.

Related: BRS MLC K Kavitha and ‘South Group’ in the Delhi liquor policy case

Other parties weigh in

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Telangana unit president RS Praveen Kumar also commented on Kavitha’s arrest, saying on X that this was an “illegal arrest of BRS chief and former Telangana chief minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha by the Modi government”.

He added: “The BSP strongly condemns the arrest. Modi started blackmail politics within hours of KCR not giving support to the BJP’s moves in Telangana and not agreeing to an electoral alliance with it, keeping in mind the wider interests of Telangana and joining hands with BSP, a secular national party. It is undemocratic. This is nothing but a blow to the self-esteem of the people of Telangana.”

Praveen Kumar also said: “The alleged misdeed is portrayed as a product of a corrupt alliance between the BJP and the Congress, which holds power at both Central and state levels. The arrest by the ED under the BJP-Congress coalition is interpreted as an assault on the people’s dignity, prompting a call for a decisive response in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

Shiv Sena UBT leader and Rajya Sabha member MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also decried the arrest, calling it shameful and unfortunate in her post on X.

She wrote: “Yet another political arrest by the Extortion Department, this entire exercise to intimidate opposing voices into submission is both shameful and unfortunate. The fight shall continue against the misuse of power, as much as BJP tries to suppress it. K Kavitha is a strong woman leader and am sure she will fight this unjust arrest. Wishing her strength. [sic]

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)