Monday, April 15, 2024

Cancel Naidu’s bail: AP govt to apex court

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The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday requested the Supreme Court to cancel the bail granted to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu in the skill development corporation scam, claiming his family members have made statements to “intimidate” public servants to hamper the probe.
The State government told a bench of justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal that Naidu’s family members have made statements publicly that they would take action against the officers when they come to power.
The apex court was hearing the state government’s plea against an Andhra Pradesh High Court order dated November 20, 2023, granting regular bail to Naidu in the case.
“We have applied to filing of additional documents. Statements have been made by the family members of the accused (Naidu)… The family members are saying when we come to power, we will take action against all these officers,” senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Andhra Pradesh government, told the bench.
“My (state’s) ultimate prayer in the SLP (special leave petition) is to cancel the bail. I am in appeal against the order of bail. I am showing you a relevant circumstance,” he said.
In the application filed in the top court through advocate Mahfooz A Nazki, the state has sought permission to file additional documents.
“By way of the present application, the petitioner/applicant (Andhra Pradesh) wishes to bring on record an additional document, the transcripts of two interviews given by Nara Lokesh, the son of the respondent (Naidu) herein, on December 19, 2023,” the application said.
The contents of these interviews indicate that both Nara Lokesh and the respondent herein are taking steps and making statements to intimidate government officers and police officials to hamper the investigation of subject crime and other crimes where the respondent is involved,” it alleged.
It said the transcripts of these two interviews are relevant to the determination of whether Naidu ought to be granted bail.
Rohatgi told the bench that benefit or liberty of bail cannot be given to those who make such threatening statements just before elections.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Naidu, said they would file a response to the application.
The bench asked Naidu’s counsel to file the response within two weeks and said the matter would be heard after three weeks.
On November 28 last year, the top court sought a response from Naidu on the state’s plea against the high court order.
The top court had also relaxed the bail conditions of the 73-year-old TDP leader and allowed him to participate in public rallies and meetings till December 8, the next date of hearing.
It, however, said other bail conditions, including him not making public statements or speaking to the media about the case, will remain in force.
On November 20, the high court converted Naidu’s four-week interim medical bail, granted on October 31, in the case into absolute bail and ordered the former chief minister’s release on regular bail, considering his age, age-related ailments, non-flight risk and other reasons.
Seeking directions to set aside the high court verdict, the Andhra Pradesh government has said in its appeal before the Supreme Court that Naidu is an “influential person” and “has ensured that two of his key associates, including a government servant, have already fled the country”.
Naidu was arrested on September 9 last year for allegedly misappropriating funds from the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation when he was the chief minister in 2015, causing a purported loss of Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer. Naidu has denied the allegations.

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