The Telangana High Court on Friday, 4 November, extended till Monday the stay imposed on the investigation into the “cash for MLAs” case.
The court, which took up the hearing on a petition filed by the BJP, gave time to the petitioner till Monday to study the counter and the three-hour video filed by the state government on Thursday.
The petitioner had prayed to the court to order the institution of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe or an inquiry by a sitting judge into the case.
Arguing on behalf of the state government, Additional AG J Ramachandra Rao sought the lifting of the stay on the case to facilitate the resumption of the investigation, but the court did not consider his plea.
The court also dismissed another plea by the government to allow it to file a petition for the custody of the accused in the case.
The court proceedings
Meanwhile, political activist Chintapandu Naveen Kumar alias Teenmar Mallanna sought permission from the court to be impleaded into the case.
In his petition, he said that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was influencing the judiciary and the investigation by the police with his observations.
BJP state general secretary J Premender Reddy, in his petition, contended that the TRS had concocted the “farmhouse incident” to defame the BJP.
He said the saffron party had nothing to do with the three people who were found talking to the four TRS legislators at the Aziznagar farmhouse.
In another development, Chitralekha — the wife of Nanda Kumar, one of the accused in the case — filed another petition in the high court seeking a direction to the government against releasing the video and audio clips as she had no faith in the investigation by the agencies that worked under KCR.
On Thursday night, KCR said that he was sending the video evidence to all those who mattered in the country, including the chief justice of India and the chief justices of state high courts, to watch it and think of ways to stem the rot that was setting in in the body politic.
He had said that the pernicious practice was not a healthy trend, and that the judiciary and other institutions should come out with a solution to address the malaise, which was becoming deep-rooted.
BJP hits back at TRS
Meanwhile, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, speaking to reporters, ridiculed Rao for “donning” the role of the saviour of democracy in India. Reddy claimed Rao was forgetting the fact it was he who had begun the practice of engineering defections.
Reeling off the names of the MLAs who joined the ranks of the TRS from the Congress, the TDP, and even the CPI in the TRS-I AND TRS-II dispensations, he said that KCR had no right to express concern over the erosion of democratic values.
He said none of those who joined the TRS had resigned before joining, while the BJP had the policy of taking leaders from other parties only after they quit as MLAs or MPs. When the TDP’s Rajya Sabha members joined the BJP, it was a merger and therefore there was no need for them to resign, he argued.
Kishan Reddy also said that the BJP was not in favour of doing any hanky panky business of luring the legislators. Those who want to join the BJP should come on their own and hold talks with the BJP leaders. “We will not go after them, and the precondition is that they should resign and then climb the steps of the BJP office,” he said.
The Central minister said that he was not saying the BJP would not take leaders from other parties, but was only pointing out that it would not indulge in unethical and undemocratic means. “We have a committee constituted officially in the party to look into the antecedents of those who wish to join our party,” he said.
The entire drama enacted at Aziznagar farmhouse was intended to tarnish the image of the BJP, he said. “The allegation against our party was that it had offered ₹100 crore to one MLA and ₹50 crore each to the other three. In fact, none of the four MLAs was worth more than 100 paise,” he said.
The Union minister also said that the BJP was not in a hurry to yank the rug from under the feet of KCR.
“We are preparing for the 2023 Assembly elections. There is no need for us to use unethical methods to pull down a government. We will fight the elections and capture power through democratic means,” he said.
Taking a dig at KCR for positioning himself as another Jayaprakash Narayan in the making, he wondered whether he had any moral right to even compare himself with the Lok Nayak.
“KCR referred to fighting for the protection of democracy when NTR was dethroned shortly after he became the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh. But I am asking him on whose side he was when a faction of the Telugu Desam dethroned him after he became the chief minister a second time by organising a camp at Viceroy Hotel. Wasn’t he in the camp that opposed NTR, and wasn’t he one among those who threw footwear at him?” he asked.