BJP national gen sec served notices in TRS MLA poaching case

Hyderabad: BJP’s national general secretary B.L. Santosh was served notices in connection by the Telangana Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the alleged plot to poach four TRS MLAs from a farmhouse in Moinabad late October.

He was instructed to appear before the SIT on November 21 at 10.30 a.m. at the Integrated Command Control Center, according to a copy of the notification dated November 16. The notice under Section 41(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code stated, “It is discovered that there are reasonable grounds to question you to collect facts and circumstances from you, in regard to the present investigation.”

Current developments indicate that several brokers involved in poaching have travelled to parts of south Indian States, places of business interests and properties of the accused.

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The SIT constituted by the State government for the probe has been questioning the three accused persons in the alleged conspiracy — Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nanda Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy. The team has already subjected the digital evidence such as audio and video to forensic examination, travel tickets, and is now working on eliciting information from the accused in question.

Santosh’s name figured in the conversation between three alleged BJP agents arrested by the police last month while trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS to the BJP’s fold with an offer of huge money.

The SIT has already served notices to Kerala doctor Jaggu Swami, BDJS President Tushar Vellapally and a lawyer and relative of Telangana BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar for questioning.

All the four have been summoned on the same day. They have been asked to appear before SIT for questioning for their alleged links with the three accused arrested in the case last month, sources said.

Jaggu Kottilil alias Jaggu Swami is working in Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi while Tushar Vellapally is President of Kerala’s Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS).

A team, led by Nalgonda Superintendent of Police Rema Rajeshwari, a member of SIT, served the notices after its investigation in Kerala during the last five days.

The team served notice at Vellapally’s house in Alappuzha. Vellapally, whose BDJS is an ally of the BJP in Kerala, was not home.

The name of Vellapally, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, figured in the conversation the three accused had with the TRS MLAs.

The notice was pasted at the office and house of Jaggu Swami, who is reported to be absconding. The police team was in Kerala to question him as Ramachandra Bharati, the main accused reportedly confessed that Jaggu Swami was linked to the cash that was promised to the TRS MLAs as inducement.

SIT has also served a notice to Bhusarapu Srinivas, a lawyer from Karimnagar, who is said to be a distant relative of the Telangana BJP chief.

Srinivas had allegedly funded the flight expenses for Simhayaji, one of the three accused.

Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nandakumar were arrested by the Cyberabad police from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26 when they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS with offers of huge money.

Cyberabad police conducted the raid on a tip-off by Pilot Rohit Reddy, one of the MLAs. He alleged that the accused offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs 50 crore each to three others.

The accused were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday rejected the BJP plea to handover MLAs’ poaching case to the CBI but made the SIT probing the case independent.

The court also ruled that a single judge will monitor the investigation into the case.

It asked the SIT to submit a report to the court on November 29 on the progress of the investigation.

(with IANS inputs)