MLAs poaching case: Setback to T'gana government in HC
Hyderabad, Feb 6: In another setback to the Telangana government, the state High Court on Monday dismissed its appeal challenging the transfer of the investigation into the MLAs poaching case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji dismissed the petitions of the state government and MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy challenging the order of the single judge transferring to the CBI the case relating to the alleged attempt to poach four legislators of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
The division bench ruled that the single judge bench's order can't be faulted and interfered with.
The division bench's order paved the way for CBI investigation into the sensational case. The High Court did not accept the request of the Advocate General to stay the implementation of the order as the state government plans to challenge the same in the Supreme Court.
On December 27, 2022, Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy ordered the transfer of the MLAs' Poachgate case to the CBI. The High Court had also quashed a Government Order under which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted by the state government to probe the case.
The single judge had pronounced the order on the petitions filed by the accused priest Ramchandra Bharati, pontiff Simhayaji, and restaurant owner Nandu Kumar that they did not have faith in the SIT investigation.
The judge had also observed that the media should not have been given access to investigation material. He also noted that the state has not responded to the question who provided the Chief Minister with investigative materials.
During the hearing on appeal filed by the state government, Supreme Court advocate and senior counsel Dushyant Dave had faulted the order of the single judge for coming to a conclusion based on apprehensions of the accused and the BJP without any material beyond reasonable doubt.
Dave told the court that once evidence was submitted to the court, it becomes a public document and such revealing of the public document by Chief Minister to the media cannot be considered as leakage of material by the investigating agency. He pointed out that while the BJP was toppling State governments by defecting MLAs from other parties across the country, there was nothing wrong about the Chief Minister of Telangana bringing to the notice of millions of voters the politics played by BJP.
The three accused were arrested by Cyberabad police from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26, 2022 when they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of BRS with offers of huge money.
Cyberabad police conducted the raid on a tip-off by Pilot Rohit Reddy, one of the MLAs. He alleged that the accused offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs 50 crore each to three others to make them defect to BJP.
The state government had subsequently constituted SIT headed by Hyderabad Police commissioner C.V. Anand to probe the case.
BJP general secretary B.L. Santosh,ABharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president Tushar Vellapally and a doctor from Kerala, Jaggu Swamy, lawyers Srinivas and Pratap Goud and Nanda Kumar's wife Chitralekha were also summoned by the SIT for questioning.
Santosh, Tushar and Jaggu Swamy had approached the High Court and secured a stay on the notices.
The high court on December 1 granted conditional bail to the accused. However, Ramachandra Bharati and Nanda Kumar were re-arrested by the police soon after their release from jail on December 8 in connection with other cases registered against them.
While Ramachandra Bharati was booked for holding multiple passports, Aadhaar cards and other documents, five cases were registered against Nanda Kumar for cheating and other offences.