Is TDP scion Nara Lokesh’s arrest imminent? Yes it is, contends the YSRCP in a post on X

Party general secretary Nara Lokesh has been camping in Delhi since 14 September, and has been consulting lawyers.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Sep 21, 2023 | 2:48 PMUpdated Sep 21, 2023 | 2:48 PM

Is TDP scion Nara Lokesh’s arrest imminent? Yes it is, contends the YSRCP in a post on X

Is TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh’s arrest imminent?

The police appear to be preparing the ground to detain him for his alleged role in the AP Fibrenet scam.

Lokesh’s father and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu is already listed as an accused in the case, and the CID has sought a prisoner transit (PT) warrant to interrogate him. Naidu is in judicial remand in Rajamahendravaram Central Prison.

YSRCP on X

What lends credence to the rumours that the CID might arrest Lokesh at any moment is a post on the YSRCP’s official handle on X (formerly Twitter).

The post said: “Lokesh is camping in Delhi, afraid that he might be arrested. A mouse may hide in a hole for some time, but it would have come at one point in time or the other and become a meal for the cat. The law will not remain silent forever, even if Lokesh stays in Delhi in the name of eliciting support for Naidu from the national parties. The law will not leave those who commit a crime, even if one hides in space. At the most, it might take some time, but those who come up with scams and then script schemes to drum up sympathy can not go scot-free.”

The explicit warning from the ruling YRSCP is seen as a message of the law soon catching up with Lokesh. While announcing the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu on 9 September, CID officials said that Lokesh also had to be examined since they had a reason to believe that he was involved in the Fibrenet scam.

The YSRCP was hitherto dismissing reports of Lokesh’s arrest as TDP’s malicious campaign against the state government. But the post says otherwise.

Nara Lokesh meets lawyers

For his part, Lokesh reportedly discussed with his lawyers the scope for the CID to frame charges against him in the fibrenet scam and if they would stand up to legal scrutiny. Lokesh reportedly also discussed the chances of his father’s release from prison and his defence against the CID’s charges.

On Thursday, 21 September, Lokesh was concerned about his father’s security in the Rajamahendravaram Central Prison.

He said on X: “I am beginning to suspect that a conspiracy was being hatched to eliminate my father in the prison itself. The ruling party is trying to murder Naidu in prison after ensuring that he was sent to judicial custody in a case for which it has no evidence. The state government is plotting against him, who, till he was arrested, had Z plus security. In the prison, he has no security. On top of this, he was suffering because of mosquito bites. The officials are not listening to his pleas for better amenities.”

He recalled the death of a remand prisoner Ganjeti Veera Venkata Satyanarayana, from Dhawalaiswaram in Rajahmahendravaram rural mandal, in jail because of dengue. “If anything happens, psycho Jagan has to take responsibility,” Lokesh said.

After being with Pawan Kalyan until he announced an alliance with TDP on 14 September, Lokesh left for Delhi and has been camping there ever since, trying to drum up support from political parties against Naidu’s arrest.

Accompanied by TDP MPs and former MPs, he visited Raj Ghat in a symbolic gesture that the party sided with the virtuous in its battle with Jagan Mohan Reddy following Naidu’s arrest.

The TDP also took the protests to Parliament. Its four MPs raised the issue in both Houses and staged a dharna in which former MPs participated.

The TDP has been active since Naidu’s arrest from his caravan vehicle in Nandyal on 9 September. Protests erupted across Andhra Pradesh and the following day in Hyderabad.

What is a fibrenet scam?

The fibrenet scam allegedly occurred while implementing the Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited (APSFL) project when the TDP was in power in 2015. The project was to provide high-speed internet, cable TV, and telephone services to households and business houses across the state.

The CID said that Tera Software Ltd, a company awarded the tender for the project’s first phase, which was valued at ₹330 crore.

The CID alleged that the government favoured Tera Software, which the government had blacklisted for its poor performance in another project.

The allegation is that Tera Software had inflated the prices of items, provided substandard equipment, and submitted fake invoices for services rendered.

The CID has estimated the loss to the government could be to the tune of ₹114 crore. The accused, charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, are 19, including Naidu, Tera Software’s directors, and a few government officials.