The national secretary of the BJP, BL Santosh was named as an accused in the alleged poaching of MLAs in Telangana. The number of accused in the case now stands at seven. In an earlier hearing, the court had directed police not to arrest the senior BJP leader as he was not named as an accused but it remains to be seen how things proceed now.
Spokesperson for the BJP, Krishna Sagar Rao said the party did not have any comments on the development for now. Santhosh, meanwhile, was also served a second notice on Wednesday to appear for interrogation by the special investigation team formed in the case.
The Telangana High Court allowed the SIT to issue a fresh notice under section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure after Santhosh failed to appear after the first notice. Justice B Vijayasen Reddy asked the SIT to serve the notice through email or WhatsApp.
The BJP leader has been asked to appear for questioning on November 26. He did not appear as directed on November 21, citing a busy schedule due to elections. Apart from him, two others — Hyderabad-based lawyer Pratap Goud and the prime accused’s wife Chitralekha — were also served notices.
In a recent state executive meeting, Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar said his party will not spare the Telangana Rashtra Samithi for “harassing" Santhosh. He said the BJP leader was a selfless pracharak working for the country.
“Who are these people who are taking names of Santhosh in these videos? They don’t have anything to do with the BJP. KCR is afraid because his party leaders are being probed for corruption charges. He is trying to tarnish the image of the BJP," Kumar said.
Earlier, notices were served to four persons — Santhosh, Dr Jaggu Swamy, Tushar Vellapally (president of Bharath Dharma Jana Sena) and A Srinivas (a lawyer known to be a distant relative of the Telangana BJP chief). So far, only Srinivas has appeared before the SIT.
Three persons — Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nanda Kumar — were arrested by Cyberabad police in October from a farmhouse in Moinabad after they allegedly tried to lure four TRS leaders into the BJP. The arrest came after a raid was conducted, based on a tip-off by TRS leader Pilot Rohit Reddy. He alleged that while he was offered Rs 100 crore to join the saffron party, three others had been promised Rs 50 crore each.
Following the arrests, alleged audio recordings of the conversations among the prime accused started making rounds on the internet. The three prime accused can be heard talking to Rohit Reddy about negotiations and the number of MLAs they wanted. Santhosh’s name figures prominently in the conversation. He is allegedly the person orchestrating the deal, the men in the conversation are heard saying.
SC asks Telangana HC to reconsider petition for CBI probe
In a related development, the Supreme Court quashed the directions passed by the Telangana HC on November 15, which allowed the SIT to probe the alleged poaching case. In response to a petition filed by the three main accused in the case, the SC asked the HC to reconsider the plea filed by them asking for transfer of the case to CBI.
The HC had asked the SIT to not report to any political or executive agency. It had also asked the team to submit its report in a sealed envelope to prevent leak to media. However, the SC bench found some of the directions given by the HC not sustainable in law.
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