Petition challenging remand order of Bandi Sanjay in Telangana High Court adjourned till 10 April

The counsel for Bandi Sanjay had argued that the police had not served notice under Section 41 A of the CRPC before arresting him.

BySumit Jha | Raj Rayasam

Published Apr 06, 2023 | 4:30 PMUpdatedApr 07, 2023 | 3:58 AM

Petition challenging remand order of Bandi Sanjay in Telangana High Court adjourned till 10 April

The BJP moved a lunch motion petition in Telangana High Court on Thursday, 6 April, seeking cancellation of the Hanamakonda court’s docket order for the remand of the party’s state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar and his immediate release from prison.

Lunch motion petitions are moved in courts in emergencies to get a hearing on the same day.

Counsel for the petitioner had argued that the police had not served notice under Section 41 A of the CrPC before arresting him.

A magistrate in the Hanamkonda district on Wednesday remanded Bandi Sanjay in judicial custody for 14 days — till 19 April — in connection with the case.

“We moved the petition against the remand order of the magistrate, citing the reasons that the remand was illegal, the police did not follow the prescribed guidelines for Section 41 CrPC as all of the sections levelled against him were punishable by less than seven years imprisonment,“ said Karuna Sagar, the lawyer for Bandi Sanjay Kumar.

The high court, after hearing arguments on the remand quash petition, adjourned the case to Monday, 10 April.

The court also issued notices to the police to file their counter, while stating that Bandi Sanjay could file a bail application with the court.

Related: 2nd SSC question paper ‘leaked’, circulated on WhatsApp

The arguments in court

During the course of the arguments, the court sought to know the charges against Sanjay Kumar.

The BJP, urging the court to take up the up petition immediately, alleged that the police had manhandled Bandi Sanjay at the time of arresting him, and that they shifted him to the Bommalaramaram Police Station, which was 150 km away from Karimnagar, for reasons best known to themselves.

Interestingly, the MP had thought it was pertinent to mention in his petition that Maoists had attacked the same police station in the past.

Bandi Sanjay said through his lawyer that he was detained throughout the night at the Bommalaramaram Police Station and then took him to the government hospital in Palakurthy, which was 70 km away, for medical tests.

He was then taken to Hanamkonda. The distance between Karimnagar and Hanmkonda was 60 km, he said.

His lawyer said that he was moved from one place to another for no valid reason, which only made him suspect that they wanted to harass him.

He alleged that the cases that were registered for what the police called crimes that occurred in Warangal had no basis.

It was part of a wide and deep-rooted conspiracy against the BJP, he said.

Even in the remand report, there was no mention that he had committed any crime, he argued.

The petitioner said that at the time of his arrest, the police did not follow Section 50 of the CrPC, which says a person arrested should be informed of the grounds of the arrest and of the right to bail).

He added that the cops were very rude to him while he was in their custody.

He said the police did not produce him before a magistrate till 6.02 pm on Wednesday, while he was held on Tuesday night. The police appeared to be following instructions from the BRS, he said.

The Warangal Police arrested Sanjay Kumar at 12.15 am on Wednesday, holding him responsible for the leakage of the SSC question paper. He was listed as Accused No 1.

The police alleged that he was behind those who forwarded the question paper on social media.

Related: BJP MLAs detained amid protest over Bandi Sanjay Kumar arrest

Police seek remand

Meanwhile, the police moved a petition at a court in the Warangal district seeking custody of Bandi Sanjay and other arrested persons in connection with the case of two question papers of the SSC board exams surfacing in groups of an instant messaging app even as the test was underway.

A petition opposing the bail plea of Sanjay Kumar was also filed by the police in the court, which was expected to come up for hearing later on Thursday.

The police have sought three days’ custody of Sanjay Kumar and three others currently in judicial remand and lodged in a jail in Karimnagar.

The custodial interrogation of the accused was needed to elicit more information about the case and also as data in their phones had been deleted, the police said.

As part of the investigation, the police were also in the process of issuing notices to all those — including BJP MLA E Rajender — to whom some of the accused had sent the photos of the question papers.

“We will be issuing notices to record their statements as witnesses. They have to appear before the investigators,” a senior Police official told PTI.

In a midnight drama, Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay was arrested after he was named as the prime accused by the Warangal police in connection with the case of malpractice.

The BJP state president’s arrest was unconstitutional and illegal and it would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s repressive regime, the saffron party’s national general secretary and Telangana in-charge Tarun Chugh said.

Also read: KCR is ruling Telangana like Bengal, says Bandi Sanjay

The alleged conspiracy

The police said that Bandi Sanjay gave directions to another accused, Prashanth, to exploit the leaking of the Telugu question paper, which happened on Monday.

If something similar were to happen on Tuesday, they were to circulate it on social media and defame the state government, claiming it had failed to prevent the leakage of question papers.

“This was also discussed in chat with Manoj, a BJP worker — that local Kamalapur students go to examination centres, click a photo of the question paper with their phones, and put them up in different WhatsApp groups to create fear among the students and their parents, thereby defaming the state government,” read the remand report of the police.

The cops said that Manoj, in turn, entrusted the work to one Shiv Ganesh.

As per their plan, a minor along with a man name Sharmi trespassed into the ZPHS Boys School in Kamalapur by scaling the compound wall, and went to a first-floor room. The minor took a photo of the question paper from another student at 9.45 am and sent it to Shiva Ganesh.

The police said Shiva immediately forwarded it to a WhatsApp group named “SSC 2019-2020”. One of the members of the group forwarded it to Manoj, who forwarded it to Prashanth.

At 11:11 am, Prashanth prepared a text message which said that the SSC Hindi Paper was leaked at 9.30 am in Warangal.

He also forwarded this to BJP MLA Eatala Rajender’s personal assistants Narendra and Raju, and to reporters. He also forwarded it to Bandi Sanjay.

Warangal Commissioner of Police AV Ranganath said: “Ex-journalist Boora Prashanth sent the question paper to all, including Telangana BJP president Bandi Sanjay, at 11.18 am. However, our probe found multiple WhatsApp chats and calls between him and Bandi Sanjay. The MP repeated whatever was spoken in chats between the two in a press conference on Monday.”

He added: “For example, the Andhra Jyothi newspaper carried Bandi Sanjay’s press statement, which matched their conversation that happened on Monday. Please note that Prashanth worked with HMTV as bureau chief, and currently works as the Warangal parliament convenor for NaMo TV.”

He further said that the police had not arrested Bandi Sanjay only because he received a WhatsApp message, but because the WhatsApp chats revealed a conspiracy. Bandi Sanjay was refusing to give information about his phone, he said.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: ‘BJP will hoist saffron flag in Telangana after next elections’