PNS | Vijayawada
In a major setback to TDP national president Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the special Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Sunday evening remanded him to 14-day judicial custody in the sensational Rs 371 crore skill development scam case. The ACB court judge Justice Himabindu delivered the judgment after a six-hour hearing of the prosecution and the defence advocates and reserved the judgment for four hours. The judge said that the judicial remand will be till September 22.
High drama ensued at Vijayawada City Civil Court on Sunday afternoon as everyone was eagerly waiting for the judgment on the sensational skill development scam case.
Justice Himabindu agreed with the argument of Additional Advocate General P Sudhakar Reddy and his team about the necessity of remanding Naidu to judicial custody. On the other hand, the ACB court rejected the argument of senior counsel Siddharth Luthra on technical grounds that the sections under which Naidu was arrested were not valid. Luthra also brought to the notice of the ACB court that the state High Court had already heard the case and let out all the accused in the case on bail.
Later, Chandrababu Naidu was shifted to Rajahmundry Central Jail. Naidu will be housed in the Central Jail for two weeks. The CID police have filed a petition in the ACB court seeking police custody and the case will be taken up on Monday. On the other hand, the counsel for Chandrababu Naidu is likely to file a bail petition in the High Court seeking bail.
Earlier in the day, Naidu was produced in an Anti-Corruption Bureau court in the city on Sunday amid tight security. The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister is being represented by Supreme Court lawyer Siddarth Luthra and a team of advocates.
Several TDP senior leaders and the party cadre gathered at the court complex.
At 3:40 am, he was taken to Government General Hospital in Vijayawada for medical tests following a 10-hour-long interrogation at the CID’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) office at Kunchanapalli here.
Following the tests, which lasted for about 50 minutes, Naidu was taken back to the SIT office even though it was expected that he would be directly taken to a local court.
The TDP chief’s son Nara Lokesh, wife Nara Bhuvaneswari and others were waiting at the ACB Court, TDP spokesperson Pattabhi Ram Kommareddy said.
“We thought that he would be taken to the court. But they brought him back to the SIT office. Lokesh and Bhuvaneswari were waiting at the Court but all of a sudden the convoy turned towards the SIT office,” Kommareddy said.
Wondering whether Naidu would be produced in the court before 24 hours of arrest, he said they were surprised and confused.
Naidu was arrested in connection with the alleged Skill Development Corporation scam after a pre-dawn police operation at Gnanapuram in Nandyala on Saturday. He was arrested by the CID around 6 am from a marriage hall outside which his caravan was parked.
It has been alleged that the scam led to a Rs 300-crore loss to the state exchequer. The TDP chief has been named the ‘principal conspirator’ in the case.
Meanwhile, the TDP gave a call to its supporters to take part in a one-day fast in every Assembly constituency on Sunday to protest against Naidu’s arrest