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BRS MLAs poaching case: Telangana HC dismisses SIT's plea

Source: PTI
January 02, 2023 21:21 IST
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The Telangana high court on Monday dismissed a plea by the special investigation team against the order of a local court rejecting its memorandum to name senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader BL Santhosh and three others as accused in the case of alleged conspiracy to poach four Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLAs.

IMAGE: Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao addresses a press meet regarding the MLA poaching case, in Hyderabad, November 4, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

The SIT, that was set up by the state government to investigate the case, had in November 2022 filed a memo in the special court of Anti-Corruption Bureau with a request to array BJP national general secretary (organisation) Santhosh and two persons from Kerala -- Tushar Vellappally and Jaggu Swamy -- besides an advocate B Srinivas, as accused (A4 to A7) in the case.


However, after hearing the arguments, the court on December 6 rejected the memo.

Challenging the rejection, the SIT had approached the high court with a criminal revision plea to quash the court's order.

Three people -- Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nandu Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy -- were already named as accused (A1 to A3) in the case after a complaint was lodged by BRS MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy, among four legislators, against them on October 26.

The trio was arrested while they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of the ruling BRS to join the BJP.

Subsequently, they were granted bail by the high court.

As per the FIR copy, Rohith Reddy alleged that the accused offered him Rs 100 crore and in return, the legislator had to leave the TRS, now BRS, and contest as a BJP candidate in the next state assembly election.

They had allegedly asked Reddy to bring more BRS MLAs by offering Rs 50 crore each to join the BJP.

Following the complaint, cases under relevant sections including criminal conspiracy, offering bribe of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, were filed against them.

The special court of ACB, in its order, observed that neither the police nor the SIT formed by the government is competent to investigate the offences relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act and only the Special Police Establishment -- Anti-Corruption Bureau -- is the competent authority to probe the case.

Therefore, on this ground also, the request of the Investigating Officer to array the proposed accused as A4 to A7 cannot be considered. As such, the memo filed by the Investigating Officer is liable to be rejected, it said.

The Telangana high court on December 26 ordered transfer of the investigation into the case of alleged attempt to poach BRS MLAs to the CBI, from the SIT of the state police.

The high court also quashed the government order to constitute the SIT and the investigation so far carried out by it.

The Telangana government on November 9 ordered the setting up of a seven-member SIT to probe into the alleged attempt to poach the MLAs.

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