Rama Krishna Sangem
BRS supremo and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is set to fight his daughter and MLC Kavitha’s possible arrest in Delhi liquor scam both politically and legally. He dropped indications to this effect at the extended BRS party meeting held in Hyderabad on March 10, Friday. Kavitha will appear before ED (Enforcement Directorate) in Delhi tomorrow – March 11, Saturday.
KCR’s son, party working president KT Rama Rao (KTR) left for Delhi on Friday evening. A battery of lawyers too will be available in Delhi when Kavitha appears before the ED. According to legal sources in ED, Kavitha’ s arrest is still a probability, not certain. “It all depends on the answers she gives to the ED officials questions,” said a senior lawyer working for the central agency.
On March 10 Kavitha held a day long fast in Delhi demanding women’s reservation bill passage. Senior BRS leaders like MPs Keshav Rao and J Santosh Kumar and many of AAP and other parties leaders took part in the dharna. Already, Kavitha sounded confident that she has nothing to hide about in the case and that she will cooperate with ED. Some more BRS cadre may be in Delhi on Saturday..
However, signals from ED point to a possible questioning of Kavitha along with other major accused in the case – former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Arun Ramachandra Pillai. ED while seeking Sisodia’s custody on Friday again mentioned the name of Kavitha and stated that she played a role in forming a group – what is called as South Group – to benefit out of the revamped liquor policy of Delhi government.
Different views are expressed by experts over possibility of Kavitha arrest on March 11. Some say she might be let off, after initial questioning, while others say, ED may not lose any time in taking her into custody so that she can be grilled simultaneously with Sisodia, whose custody may end March 17. Gong by the trends of ED court’s handling of this case so far, most of the arrest requests are accepted for speeding up the process.
Political fight follows
CM KCR made it amply clear that he will not allow ruling BJP politically weakening him in Telangana. As assembly elections are likely to be held November end to early December this year, Kavitha’s case assumes political significance. KCR is going to take it up politically to expose BJP witch-hunting its political rivals. This is what Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too said in the UK last week.
BRS leaders and cadre will hold meetings and rallies to target BJP, which is not so strong in Telangana and tell people that the party which is in power at the Centre is misusing ED and CBI for its political ends. Even if Kavitha is not arrested on March 11, ED may do it subsequently so they need to file – probably last – chargesheet before the court soon. A two to three weeks custody of Kavitha looks likely.
Legal teams of BRS, both from Hyderabad and Delhi are studying the case from all angles. Technically, MLC Kavitha is not involved in any illegality with regard to Delhi liquor scam. If some businessmen were in touch with her, that is not uncommon, for a politician. Whether she tinkered with the policy to benefit some select people – say South Group – is a remote question, as she is Not in a position of power to do that.
As of now, ED is depending on circumstantial evidence – like statement of Pillai who claimed to be a benami of Kavitha or alleged destruction of 2 mobile phones by Kavitha to tamper evidence. The claim of another accused in the case, Gorantla Buchibabu that Kavitha informed the South people of a change in liquor policy of Delhi too is a weak link in the case – as it alone cannot establish her culpability, say the lawyers.
Overall, in most cases taken up by the agencies, initial custody of suspects itself is treated as punishment – especially to politicians. Those arrested can always seek bail and the courts will grant them after some reasonable time. But, before that, political damage will happen to the accused. In this case, CM KCR is determined to see that BJP won’t get any political mileage out of this case. Moreover, BRS will be further activated politically.