The Telangana High Court released its full verdict on Wednesday, 28 December, transferring the “Cash for MLAs” case to the CBI and quashing the investigation by the state government-appointed special investigation team (SIT).
The “Cash for MLAs” case stems from allegations that the ruling BRS MLAs were approached to defect to the BJP.
The verdict will come into force immediately, now that it is official. The court ordered the SIT to transfer all the documents and details, including those related to the progress of the investigation, to the CBI forthwith.
If the Telangana government has objections against the ruling, it would have to appeal before a division bench and obtain a stay.
The court’s final word
Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, in his 98-page report, listed the reasons for transferring the investigation to the CBI.
Among these is the government’s failure to apprise the court of the person behind the leakage of case evidence, which was allegedly given to the chief minister.
The judge found that revealing the details of the investigation to the chief minister was highly objectionable. He noted, with concern, that the evidence, which should be with the investigating officials, should only go to the media and to the people.
The court noted that the investigation agency should not reveal the details of its probe to anyone. Unfortunately, evidence in the case was leaked even in the initial stages of the investigation, it said.
It looks as though the investigation done by the SIT was not transparent, the court noted. If the evidence leaves the police department, the investigation cannot proceed along the right lines, it added.
The court said that under Articles 20 and 21 of the Indian Constitution, the accused in a case could seek fair investigation.
A win for the petitioners
The petition filed by the BJP seeking transfer of the case to the CBI is not maintainable as it is a third party. However, the court allowed the petitions filed by the accused, who requested an annulment of the order issued by the state government to constitute the SIT.
The court’s final verdict: The SIT constituted under GO No 63 stands quashed and FIR No 455/2022 has been transferred to the CBI.