APSSDC scam case: Supreme Court to deliver verdict on Chandrababu Naidu plea on 16 January

Naidu was arrested on 9 September last year for allegedly misappropriating funds from the APSSDC when he was the chief minister in 2015.

ByPTI

Published Jan 14, 2024 | 4:09 PMUpdatedJan 14, 2024 | 4:09 PM

Chandrababu Naidu bail

The Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver on 16 January its verdict on former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s plea challenging the high court order refusing to quash the FIR against him in the AP State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam case.

Naidu was arrested on 9 September last year for allegedly misappropriating funds from the APSSDC when he was the chief minister in 2015, causing a purported loss of ₹371 crore to the state exchequer. Naidu has denied the allegations.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had on 20 November last year granted him regular bail in the case.

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The hearing

An apex court bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi had on 17 October last year reserved its verdict on Naidu’s plea challenging the 22 September, 2023, high court order refusing to quash the FIR against him in the case.

During the hearing on the plea before the apex court, the counsel appearing for the state had argued that Naidu’s petition for quashing the FIR be rejected as the question about the applicability of section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act does not arise as the provision came into force in July 2018, while the CBI began probing the case in 2017.

Section 17A was introduced by an amendment with effect from 26 July, 2018, and the provision stipulates a mandatory requirement for a police officer to seek prior approval from the competent authority for conducting any enquiry or inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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Argues application of Section 17A

The lawyers appearing for Naidu had argued that all allegations in the FIR pertain to decisions, instructions or recommendations made by Naidu when he was the chief minister and section 17A was applicable in the case as the inquiry started in December 2021.

The TDP chief had contended that the FIR against him was registered without obtaining the prior approval of the competent authority in the scam case, and, therefore, his arrest was illegal.

He had moved the top court challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR against him in connection with the alleged scam.

While dismissing his petition, the high court had said criminal proceedings ought not to be scuttled at the initial stage and quashing an FIR should be an exception rather than the rule.

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