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Another Warrant Issued Against TDP President Chandrababu Naidu After His Petition High Court

N Chandrababu Naidu, the president of the Telugu Desam Party, petitioned the Andhra Pradesh high court on Tuesday, asking for the dismissal of a case brought against him in the multi-million dollar skill development scam. However, the state police issued yet another warrant to charge him in the AP Fibernet scam, according to those with knowledge of the situation.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) special court in Vijayawada simultaneously postponed Naidu’s bail request in the case until September 21. Additionally, it postponed till the same day a second appeal by Naidu requesting for anticipatory bail in the issue of the Amaravati inner ring road as well as a request for Naidu’s police detention from the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

In the high court, a bench headed by justice K Sreenivas Reddy heard the arguments of Naidu’s counsels and that of the government for over five hours on the petition seeking to quash the case against the TDP chief, who also asked for cancellation of his judicial remand.

Former Indian solicitor general Harish Salve and senior attorney Siddharth Luthra argued on Naidu’s behalf before the court, claiming that the CID had not followed proper protocol before detaining Naidu in the skill development corporation fraud.

Salve emphasized that the CID did not acquire the consent of the competent authorities, in this case the governor of Andhra Pradesh, before detaining Naidu as required by Section 17(A) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Since the project in question was already underway and it could not be claimed that public funds were misused, he maintained that there was no case to be brought against Naidu.

There is no need for permission from the appropriate authority to look into Naidu’s involvement in the scam, according to additional advocate general Ponnavolu Sudhakar Reddy and senior attorney Mithun Rastogi. The former chief minister engaged in the scam in a deliberate and calculated manner, causing significant losses to the exchequer.

Rastogi provided the court with specific emails to show Naidu was aware of the project’s cost inflation but still moved forward with a private partnership despite this. According to him, “Such acts of fabricating records and misappropriating funds cannot be deemed to be official duty within the meaning of Section 17-A of the PCA.”

As only 10 days had passed since the arrest of Naidu and the investigation was still at a nascent stage, the case cannot be dismissed, Rastogi argued.

CID sleuths arrested Naidu on September 9 at Nandyal and produced him in the ACB court at Vijayawada on September 10. After hearing the arguments for over eight hours, ACB court judge Himabindu remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days and Naidu was shifted to Rajahmundry central jail in the early hours of September 11.

Naidu’s request for house detention was denied by the ACB court on September 12 for security reasons. On September 13, the high court issued an order prohibiting the special court judge from giving Naidu’s custody to the CID police till Tuesday.

In the meantime, the CID included Naidu’s name as A-25 in yet another case involving the suspected multi-crore AP Fibernet fraud that occurred under the previous TDP administration in a note that was submitted to the ACB court on Tuesday.

As Naidu is currently in judicial custody at the Rajahmundry prison, the CID also submitted a plea to the court asking for a prisoner travel warrant against him.

The AP Fibernet (phase-1) project scam was the subject of a criminal case filed by the CID under Sections 166 (public servant disobeying law), 167 (public servant making false document), 418 (deliberate cheating to cause loss), 465 (forgery), 468 (falsifying documents), 471 (fraudulently using a forged document), 409 (criminal breach of trust), and 506 r/w 120-B (criminal breach of trust

According to the statement, Naidu, who was also in charge of the energy, infrastructure, and investment department, personally suggested that the Fibernet project be carried out by the energy, infrastructure, and investment department rather than the IT department.

“Naidu gave approval for the estimates of the project without any market survey done. He used his influence to revoke the blacklisting on M/s Terasoftware and got the contract awarded to the company by silencing the protests from other bidders,” the official note said, adding that the loss to the government was around ₹330 crore.

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