Hyderabad: The Supreme Court on Friday, February 9, issued a notice on a plea to transfer the impending trial in the 2015 cash-for-votes against the present Telangana chief minister, A Revanth Reddy.
A bench of justices, BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, issued a notice, returnable after four weeks, in a petition that sought the trial to be transferred to the neighboring states of Chhattisgarh or Madhya Pradesh.
The petition has been filed by four legislators belonging to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party- Members of the Legislative Council (MLC), Satyavathi Rathod and Mohd. Mahmood Ali, and MLAs Guntakandla Jagadish Reddy and Kalvakuntla Sanjay.
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The petitioners have sought the transfer of two connected corruption cases – Telangana vs. A Revanth Reddy & ORS and Telangana vs. Sandra Venkata Veeraiah. Both cases are pending for trial before a special judge in Hyderabad.
The petition alleges that Reddy offered Rs 50 lakh in advance to MLA Elvis Stephenson for his vote in the 2015 elections to the Telangana MLC. Moreover, the petition also claims that Reddy was directed by his “former boss” and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, to offer such a bribe.
Allegedly, the bribe was paid to convince Stephenson to either abstain from casting his vote for MLC elections or to vote in favor of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), to which Revanth belonged before joining the Indian National Congress (INC) in 2017.
Further, it is alleged that the accused persons were caught red-handed in broad daylight by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, after which the cases were registered in the matter on a complaint by Stephenson.
Considering the current status of Reddy as the Chief Minister of the state, the petitioners have asserted that a fair trial in these corruption cases would not be possible in Telangana.
Besides, the petitioners also highlighted that Reddy presently has “88 pending cases” against him, and he has also threatened the senior police officials belonging to Telangana on many occasions. It indicates his capability to transfer sincere police officials to make sure that corruption cases against him end in an acquittal, the petition claimed.
Claiming that he has attempted to file several applications over the years for various reasons, the petition alleges Reddy has done it to delay the trial.
Therefore, the petitioners have pleaded with the Court for a transfer of trial in the cash-for-votes scam to neighboring states like Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh.