The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday, 21 November, filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court, challenging the state high court granting bail to former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the multi-crore skill development scam.
The Andhra Pradesh Criminal Investigation Department (CID) approached the top court after the high court had granted him regular bail on Monday. Earlier, the TDP leader was granted bail for 28 days on health grounds on 31 October.
A single bench judge of the high court, Justice T Mallikarjuna, had granted both bails to Naidu.
‘HC delved deep into facts’
In its SLP, the Andhra Pradesh government argued that the high court had, in the bail matter, “delved deeply into the case’s facts and rendered findings that are not only factually incorrect but also likely to prejudice the court below during the trial”.
The petition highlighted eight paragraphs from the order, emphasising the high court’s observation that “the petitioner cannot be held responsible for every sub-contractor’s evasion”.
Quoting the Sangitaben Shaileshbhai Datanta vs. the State of Gujarat (2019) case, the petition referred to the Supreme Court’s statement: “The court must not undertake a meticulous examination of the evidence collected by the police, or rather order specific tests as done in the present case.”
AP government’s six questions of law
* Whether the Hon’ble High Court over-stepped its jurisdiction, judicially well-settled, in regard to consideration of bail applications?
* Whether the exercise undertaken by the Hon’ble High Court in adjudicating on the bail petition, lacked judicial approach, inconsistent with the settled position of law, in regard to judicial restraint from conducting a trial of the case?
* Whether the approach of the Hon’ble High Court in commenting upon the evidence worthiness of the material collected during the investigation, its implications on the guilt of the accused, while considering a bail application, is contrary to the well-settled judicial precedents in this regard?
* Whether the Hon’ble High Court could have undertaken an elaborate adjudication, in the absence of any arguments by the petitioners on the bail application?
* Whether competence to take an official decision, is presumptive of innocence of the accused public servant under the PC Act, 1988, while the allegation is of abuse of office, conferment of pecuniary gain to others and to himself?
* Whether the approach of the Hon’ble High Court is an affront to the settled judicial position on power, exercise of power, absence of jurisdiction, abuse of capacity as a public servant, conferment of pecuniary gain to others?
TDP chief Naidu was arrested on 9 September by the Andhra Pradesh CID in the ₹371 crore AP State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam. On 10 September, he was sent to judicial remand until 31 October. He was granted bail on 31 October for undergoing cataract surgery on his right eye.
Initially, Naidu’s bail petition was rejected by the Vijayawada Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Court, prompting him to approach the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The quash petition for the skill development scam case FIR was quashed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and is awaiting a verdict in the Supreme Court, expected this week.
Naidu faces six cases filed by the YSRCP regime: Apart from the skill development case, there are the Amaravati Inner Ring Road case, the AP Fibernet case, Punganur violence case, the state sand policy case, and the liquor policy case.