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Andhra Pradesh government constitutes team to probe cases against KCR

Telangana ACB grills TDP leader Narender in cash-for-vote scam



By P.s. Jayaram

Published: Thu 18 Jun 2015, 10:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:58 PM

Hyderabad: On a day of hectic developments in the cash-for-vote scam, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday constituted a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the dozens of cases registered against Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in the neighbouring state.

Following the surfacing of an audio tape purported to contain the conversation of AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu with nominated Telangana legislator Elvis Stephenson, wherein the former assured the latter that all commitments would be honoured, several Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders and even the general public had filed cases against KCR, as the Telangana chief minister is known, accusing him of tapping the telephones of Naidu and other top AP leaders and officials. In all, a total of 87 cases were registered across AP.

Sources said that Deputy Inspector General Iqbal will head the six-member SIT after the government formally issues the orders. The SIT will take up the probe from Thursday. The constitution of the SIT assumes significance in the wake of Telangana ACB’s notices to T TDP leader Vem Narender Reddy and party MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, with many believing it to be a retaliatory move by the TDP government. In fact, Naidu has convened a cabinet meeting and it is on at the State Secretariat to look into the pros and cons of the cash-for-vote case which had put the AP chief minister in a tight spot.

Meanwhile, Stephenson, who was offered a bribe of Rs5 million as part of a Rs50 million deal by Telangana TDP legislator A Revanth Reddy on May 31, appeared before the ACB Special Court to record his statement. His statement, sources said, would be of great significance in cracking the case since he is the main witness. Revanth Reddy and two of his associates were caught red-handed while they were handing over the bribe at Stephenson’s house and were subsequently arrested and remanded to judicial custody.

Meanwhile, ACB officials also questioned TDP leader Narender Reddy, who was served a notice by ACB late on Tuesday night. The ACB is also likely to serve notices on a few more TDP leaders, but the widely speculated move to serve notice on Naidu may depend on the statement made by Stephenson, sources said.

Telangana Director General of Police Anurag Sharma, ACB chief A K Khan and Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahendar Reddy met KCR and briefed him on the developments following notices being served on TDP leaders.

Stephenson, speaking about the scandal for the first time at a function, said he was firmly for strengthening the hand of the Telangana chief minister, and that he was willing to even die to safeguard the interest of the state. “I am helping the authorities and the government only for the sake of the people of Telangana,” he said.

Telangana Irrigation Minister and KCR’s nephew T Harish Rao ridiculed the AP ministers for what he termed as knee-jerk reaction to the scandal when they claimed that the TDP government would not hesitate to arrest the Telangana chief minister and others. He wondered why the AP government was filing series of cases against KCR and others. “We are not perturbed or afraid of such actions,” he told the media.

news@khaleejtimes.com


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