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Judgment reserved on Naidu’s plea to quash the case

Amravati: Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday booked TDP supremo N. Has reserved its order on the petition to quash Chandrababu Naidu’s case. The former CM is currently in judicial custody in this case.

The court refused to pass an interim order after hearing arguments from both sides throughout the day. Harish Salve, appearing for Naidu, presented his arguments virtually. Siddharth Luthra also argued the case on behalf of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president. 

Additional Advocate Generals P. Sudhakar Reddy and Mukul Rohatgi presented arguments on behalf of the government. Naidu’s lawyer argued that the case against the former CM was politically motivated in view of the upcoming elections.

The lawyer told the court that the CID had not taken prior permission from the Governor before arresting Naidu, as was required under Section 17A of the amended Prevention of Corruption Act. He said the section was invoked in the case because the PC Act was amended in 2018, while the FIR was filed in 2021.

It also told the court that no scam has taken place as the six skill development centers set up with funds released from the government are still functioning. There is no truth in the allegation that an additional amount of Rs 150 crore was sent to six shell companies.

Naidu’s lawyer also pointed out that if there was evidence against the former Chief Minister, then what was the CID doing for two years? However, the Additional Advocate General and Rohatgi said that Section 17A of the PC Act does not apply as the CID investigation began before the amendment of July 26, 2018. He gave details of six companies to the court.

During the hearing, the Telugu Desam Party supremo alleged that the YSR Congress Party government was targeting her due to political vendetta. He had sought an order to cancel his judicial custody and also quash the FIR lodged by the CID.

Naidu was arrested in this case by CID in Nandayal on September 9. The next day, the ACB court in Vijayawada sent him to judicial custody for 14 days and later he was shifted to Rajahmundry Central Jail.

The Vijayawada court had also rejected Naidu’s plea for house custody instead of judicial custody. 

The CID had claimed that the state government had suffered a huge loss of Rs 371 crore due to the alleged fraud. The agency said the advance amount of Rs 371 crore, which represents the entire 10 per cent commitment of the government to the project, was released before any expenditure was incurred by the private entities.

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