Cash for MLAs: Telangana HC quashes lower court order; 3 BJP emissaries to be remanded in custody

In another order, on a BJP petition, the court stayed the probe in the Cash for MLAs case and asked the state to file a counter.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 29, 2022 | 2:40 PMUpdatedOct 29, 2022 | 5:07 PM

Cash for MLAs Three accused in ACB court

The way is now clear for the Cyberabad police to send the three accused in the Cash for MLAs case to judicial remand with the Telangana High Court on Saturday, 29 October, quashing the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) special court’s orders against remanding them.

The Cyberabad police had hit a road-block when the ACB court refused to remand them when the three accused were produced before the judge on Thursday night, following which all the accused — Faridabad priest Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, a pontiff from Tirupati Simha Yajulu, and Hyderabad hotelier K Nanda Kumar — were set free.

But the Cyberabad police challenged the ACB court’s decision by filing a revision petition in the Telangana High Court which, while allowing it, asked the accused to surrender before the Cyberabad police commissioner and directed the police to arrest and produce them before the ACB court within the next 24 hours.

Investigation halted

Meanwhile, the court, in another order, stayed the investigation in the Cash for MLAs case till 4 November, and adjourned further hearing in the case to the same date.

The court gave the direction on a petition filed by BJP leader Gujjula Premender Reddy, seeking a probe by CBI or a special investigation team (SIT) to ferret out the truth in the “attempt to entice TRS MLAs” operation that took place at a farmhouse in Aziznagar in Moinabad police station limits on Wednesday.

The court asked the state government to file a counter.

Related: Cash for MLAs: Hubris, desperation behind BJP move?

Incontrovertible evidence

On the question of remand, the court pointed out that there was no need to issue any notices to the accused before arresting them. The high court asked the ACB court to remand the accused to judicial custody.

BJP bribe givers

The detained men (from left) Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad, Simhayaji Swamy of Tirupati, and Ramachandra Bharathi, alias Satish Sharma, a resident of Faridabad near Delhi.

The high court ordered that the accused be remanded after hearing the arguments of the prosecution that it had incontrovertible evidence to prove that they were guilty of trying to resort to horse-trading at the Moinabad farmhouse.

The three were arrested when they were allegedly negotiating with the four MLAs: Besides Rohit Reddy representing Tandur in the Telangana Legislative Assembly, the other MLAs were Rega Kantha Rao (Pinapaka), Beeram Harshavardhan Reddy (Kollapur), and Guvvala Balaraju (Achampet).

Meanwhile, the ruling TRS on Friday released two audio clips, purportedly of conversations between TRS MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy and the three BJP emissaries.

The tapes, if authentic, would substantiate the TRS charge that the BJP was offering power, pelf and protection to the MLAs if they ditched the pink party and joined the saffron party ahead of the 3 November Munugode bypoll.

South First cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the tapes, or even whether the voices are those of the three emissaries, all of whom were arrested from Rohit Reddy’s farmhouse on Wednesday night and charged under various sections of the IPC.

Transcripts of the two audio tapes are available here.

Additional security for Rohit Reddy

Meanwhile, the state government has upped the security cover for Tandur TRS legislator Pilot Rohit Reddy after he gave away the Delhi agents who came to engineer the defection of the TRS MLAs to the BJP.

The government has provided him with a bullet-proof vehicle and an escort van, besides posting a police picket at his residence. He already has 4+4 security cover.

Rohit Reddy has emerged as the key person in pulling off the sting operation of sorts against the Delhi agents who are alleged to be the emissaries of the BJP.

After the talks with the emissaries, Rohit Reddy called one of his boys and asked him to fetch coconut water, which was the code word for the police to act. As soon as they heard the signal with the help of microphones set up in the farmhouse, they moved in and detained the emissaries.

The police enhanced security for Rohit Reddy as it perceived a threat to him after he exposed not only the emissaries but also the alleged main players — Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santosh.