Cash-for-vote case: Chandrababu Naidu moves High Court

Chandrababu Naidu (File) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu filed a petition before the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday, seeking to quash a private complaint filed against him in the cash-for-vote case.

Naidu sought quashing of the recent order passed by an ACB court directing the Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate allegations made against him in the complaint filed by YSRCP MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy with regard to the cash-for-vote case allegedly involving TDP's Telangana MLA.A. Revanth Reddy.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the AP CM may be involved in the case and a forensic report submitted to an ACB court 'confirms' this. The forensic report says the voice in the phone call was 'similar' to that of Naidu.

The forensic report from labs in Mumbai and London were released by Reddy.

Naidu, who did not seem to be perturbed by the turn of events, reacted saying there is nothing new in the report, adding his lawyer will look into it. This is because it is believed that the forensic report may not hold up in court. Naidu cannot be implicated unless the ACB submits the voice sample collected with the court's permission.

On August 29, the ACB court had directed the police to reinvestigate the case and examine Naidu’s role in trying to lure a nominated member of the Telangana Assembly to vote in favour of a TDP candidate, V Narender Reddy, in the last year’s elections to the Legislative Council. The court had set September 29 as the deadline for completing the re-investigation.

Ramakrishna Reddy, YSRCP MLA from Guntur district, sought the inclusion of Naidu as an accused in the scam. The report submitted to the court was from a private laboratory that concluded that the voice sample in the telephonic conversation with nominated MLA Stephenson was that of Naidu. Based on this, the court ordered reinvestigation into the case.

Meanwhile, Naidu, in his petition, claimed that he had no role whatsoever in bribing the MLA and there was no need for a reinvestigation. He noted that the case comes under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission and wanted to know how a reinvestigation of the case on which an FIR was already filed could be ordered.

It would seem that law is on the side of Naidu. As per the code of criminal procedure, the forensic report obtained by a private individual with samples collected from his known sources will not be considered valid. Nonetheless, the private individuals can file a petition in the High Court to take the case forward.

Meanwhile, the ACB has told the court that it was investigating the role of all those involved in the cash-for-vote case and this fresh plea is not different from what they are already doing.

However, bringing up this case at this time is a definite irritant for Naidu. Even if nothing might come off it, the case is enough to embarrass the CM.

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