The Telangana High Court on Tuesday refused to transfer the case of alleged attempted poaching of four Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) lawmakers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A division bench of the High Court, headed by Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, allowed the Telangana Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) to continue its investigation and submit a progress report exclusively to the court on November 29.
The High Court bench, which also includes Judge CV Bhaskar Reddy, rejected the petition for review filed by BJP State General Secretary G Premender Reddy, who called for an impartial investigation by the CBI, citing that his party had no confidence in the TRS-led state-made SIT. government.
The bench allowed the SIT, headed by Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand, to continue the investigation under the supervision of the court and not the government.
A single-judge High Court bench will oversee the investigation into the case of the arrest of three people trying to lure four TRS lawmakers into the BJP, the court heard. He, however, prohibited the SIT from disclosing its investigation reports to political and executive authorities, including the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The team was also instructed not to release any information to the media.
The bench ordered SIT to submit a report to the court on Nov. 29 on the status of the investigation.
Welcoming the judgment, petitioner Premender Reddy said the court had ensured transparency in the investigation.
“The High Court also expressed its displeasure with the manner in which the inquiry was made public at the Chief Minister’s press conference and said this should be confidential to protect transparency and fairness,” it said. Reddy said.
He claimed that the state government lawyer assured the court that the mistake would never be repeated and that the same was recorded by the court.
On October 26, Cyberabad police arrested three people: Nanda Kumar, a hotelier from Hyderabad; Swami Ramachandra Bharati alias S Satish Sharma of Faridabad; and Simhayajulu from Tirupati – on a farm on the outskirts of Hyderabad, when they reportedly tried to lure four MPs from the ruling TRS (BRS) party.
Addressing a press conference on November 3, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao released videotapes which allegedly showed the accused offering huge sums of money, senior BJP posts and central government contracts to the four TRS MPs – Pilote Rohit Reddy, Guvvala Balaraju, B Harshavardhan Reddy and Rega Kantha Rao.
Although an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) tribunal ordered the defendants released on October 27 on technical grounds, they were arrested the following day by order of a high court. They have since been held in Chanchalguda Central Jail in Hyderabad.
On the same day, the BJP General Secretary filed a petition with the High Court asking for a CBI investigation into the matter. On October 29, the High Court suspended the ongoing investigation and ordered the state government and other respondents to file a counter-appeal against the BJP leader’s petition.
The court, however, lifted the suspension of the investigation on November 8, after the state government constituted a seven-member SIT to investigate the following case.