The SC on Wednesday gave its nod to extend the tenure of the incumbent Delhi chief secretary by six months.
In a breather to Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha, for now, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Enforcement Directorate not to summon her for questioning in the Delhi liquor scam case until November 20. The court was hearing a plea by Kavitha against the ED summoning her in an alleged Delhi liquor scam in which several people, including the former Delhi deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, are in jail.
While protecting Kalvakuntla Kavitha from being summoned by the ED to their office, a two-judge bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia said, “You can’t say that a woman can’t be called (to ED office for questioning), (but) there have to be some safeguards.” Justice Kaul, who headed the bench, said this when a lawyer appearing for one of the petitioners, in response to a query from the bench, said that the issue is that a woman accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act can be questioned at her residence only.
“In the meantime, don’t call her, we have to hear the matter”, Justice Kaul said, asking the additional solicitor general, SV Raju, who was appearing for the ED.
As Raju tried to shift from the position he had stated during the hearing, Justice Kaul said the bench has heard it. “We have heard in the court what has been said,” Justice Kaul said.
Before posting the matter for hearing on November 20, the court said a special bench comprising Justice Kaul, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice Bela MN Trivedi would decide two issues arising from the July 27, 2022, judgement, which upheld the amended stringent provisions of the PMLA.
The special bench, headed by Justice Kaul, would examine whether an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) by the ED could be denied to an accused while arresting them.
Stating that the special bench would assemble on November 18 to consider the two issues, Justice Kaul said the outcome of the issues could have “some ramifications for them”, referring to other PMLA-accused politicians, like Abhishek Banerjee, Nalini Chidambaram, and K Kavitha.
The ED is investigating Kavitha for her alleged involvement in money laundering rooted in the implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy, 2021-22.