Summoned as ‘suspect’? BRS MLC Kavitha to skip CBI summon again in Delhi liquor policy case

While first notice was issued under 160 CrPC, the current one is under 41A CrPC that is issued to a person considered an accused or suspect.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Feb 25, 2024 | 11:22 PMUpdatedFeb 26, 2024 | 3:02 PM

BRS MLC K Kavtiha to skip CBI summon for second time in Delhi liquor scam, cites pending SC petition and pubic engagements

BRS MLC K Kavitha wrote a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday, 25 February, a day ahead of her questioning in the alleged Delhi Liquor scam, informing it that she would not be able to appear before the probe agency.

She also requested the agency to withdraw the notice issued to her under Section 41 A of the CrPC.

Kavitha cited her “pressing” public engagements along with the fact that her petition in the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

The daughter of BRS chief and two-time Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao requested the CBI to keep the notice in abeyance.

However, the BRS leader expressed her interest in appearing through any virtual mode in front of the investigating agency if the details are sent well in advance.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that one of the accused in the case, Vijay Nair, received payoffs to the tune of ₹100 crore from the so-called South Group, of which Kavitha is said to be a part.

Related: CBI summons BRS MLC K Kavitha on 26 February

Allegations denied

Kavitha expressed her concerns about the CBI sending her a notice under Section 41A of the CrPC, similar to the one she was served in December 2022.

This is the second time the BRS leader will be skipping summons for questioning. She was questioned last by the central agency in December 2022 in her alleged role in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy.

In her letter, the MLC denied any role play in any of the accusations and said she saw “absolutely no logic, reason or background” over the CBI summoning her under Section 41 A of the CrPC.

The violation of the notice could lead to her arrest. A notice under Section 41A of the CrPC is issued to a person against whom a “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person had committed a cognizable offence.

Kavitha claimed that the present notice under Section 41A CrPC is in complete contrast to the earlier notice under Section 160 CrPC (pertains to summoning a witness.), which was issued to her in December 2022 and with which already stands complied.

Sanjay Hegde, senior Supreme Court advocate said the 41 A CrPC notice is issued to appear in front of the police or relevant statuatory law agency. “It is issued to an accused when there is a complaint and grounds to believe that a cognisable offense have been committed by the person based on the suspicion that has risen against the person,” he told South First.

Srikanth Chintala, an advocate at Telangana High Court told South First, “Section 41A is used when a person is considered as an accused when there is the case against the person that they might have committed a crime and there is reasonable cause of apprehension prima facie in the case. Otherwise, the person still remains a suspect if there is no prima facie.”

Meanwhile, Kavitha further said in the letter, “The CBI does not need my assistance any longer in the matter as the case is entirely sub-judice before the court of law.”

Kavitha added that over the coming “six weeks”, she was scheduled to attend several “one-to-one” meetings in various districts ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Related: K Kavitha skips fresh ED summons

Kavitha and the ‘South Group’

In an application filed by the ED in a Delhi court on 30 November, 2022, seeking 14 days’ custody of businessman Amit Arora, the investigation agency named Kavitha, YSRCP MP Magunta Srinivasul Reddy, and a leading pharma company’s director Sarath Reddy as people controlling what it called the “South Group”.

The probe agency said the group paid ₹100 crore to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Vijay Nair as kickbacks.

According to the ED, they were represented by businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai — apart from Hyderabad businessman Abhishek Boinpally, and chartered accountant (CA) Butchibabu Gorantla.

The ED said the main part of the entire Delhi liquor scam rests on the conspiracy orchestrated by the South Group with the leaders of the AAP.

On 7 February last year, the CBI, which is also investigating the case, arrested Butchibabu Gorantla, said to be the ex-accountant of Kavitha.

The ED sought and obtained permission from the court to grill Buchbabu, who is currently out on bail, in judicial custody.

When the ED arrested him, it sent shockwaves as many feared that the ED was trying to build a case against Kavitha.

Related: Not ED but Modi notice, says BRS MLC K Kavitha