K Kavitha, senior leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), hit out at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today and questioned its rush to interrogate her in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case.
The Telangana legislative council member, who is also the daughter of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, will be attending a mega protest by 18 parties at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar tomorrow to demand the introduction of Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
“We released a poster on March 2 about the hunger strike in Delhi over the Women’s Reservation Bill. Eighteen parties confirmed their participation. ED summoned me on March 9. I requested for March 16, but don’t know what haste they’re in, so I agreed for March 11,” she told reporters in the national capital.
“Why was the ED in a rush to question me and chose a day before my protest? It could have happened a day later as well,” Ms Kavitha added.
She also hit out at the central agency for turning down her request to be questioned at home. “When requests were made, well within the law, to the Enforcement Directorate to investigate me at my home, they simply refused. If they can do this to a political face, imagine how much a common person, especially a woman, would have to bear with,” Ms Kavitha said.
The ED case alleges that Ms Kavitha is part of the “South Cartel” that benefited from kickbacks after Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy came into force. The BRS leader has denied the allegations and accused the centre of misusing probe agencies for political goals.
The BRS leader said provisions should be made to ensure women can comply with such investigation at any level, including virtually.
She said the BRS has decided to raise this issue and demand proper procedures for the questioning of women by probe agencies.
Accusing the ruling BJP of using probe agencies to target political rivals, she said Telangana is now on the radar because it is headed for polls. “From last June, the Government of India has constantly been sending its agencies to Telangana. Why? Because Telangana elections are due in November or December.”
These were attempts by the BJP to divert attention from real issues, she said.
Speaking on the Women’s Reservation Bill, she said the BJP had promised to implement the legislation in the run-up to the 2014 and 2019 general elections, but did not keep the word despite coming to power with a clear majority.
The legislation, which proposes a Constitutional amendment to reserve 1/3 of the seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies, was first introduced by the HD Deve Gowda government in 1996, but held up due to some objections. In another push during the UPA era, a Bill for women’s reservation in legislature was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2018. The Lok Sabha, however, never voted on it and the Bill eventually lapsed.
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