New Delhi [India], September 27 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday posted for hearing on October 3 a plea of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu seeking to quash the FIR registered against him in the skill development scam case.
The matter was listed today before a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti. However, as the matter came up for hearing, Justice Batti recused from hearing the case.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Naidu, then mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud for urgent listing.
Luthra while mentioning the matter said that Naidu was picked up illegally on September 8 Naidu and he has been detained.
The senior advocate said the probe agency is pressing for 15 days of police custody before the trial court, and let them not press the police custody.
To this, CJI told Luthra that “it will not restrain the trial judge from dealing with the application.”
“We will keep it on the October 3,” the bench added.
Luthra further said that the probe agency is roping Naidu in FIR after FIR and this kind of regime revenge cannot happen.
“They are roping him in FIR after FIR. He is a Z plus arrestee. 2024 Elections are there and they are trying to save themselves from embarrassment. This kind of regime revenge cannot happen,” he said.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing the Andhra Pradesh government said that “this is about 3300 crores.. GST, authorities found there was siphoning off money and then a case was filed by CBI. Files started disappearing thereafter…”
Naidu approached the Supreme Court against the High Court order which declined to quash the FIR last week.
He sought the quashing of the FIR registered by AP-CID in the alleged Rs 371 crore skill development scam on the ground that the police did not obtain prior sanction from the Governor as mandated under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
In his plea, Naidu contended that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had rejected his petition by ignoring his pleading that under Section 17A of the PC Act, which came into force on July 26, 2018, no FIR against a public servant could be registered without prior sanction of the appropriate authority.
The FIR against Naidu was registered on December 9, 2021, and he was added as accused number 37 in the case. on September 7, 2023. Section 17 A of the PC Act was not complied with as “no permission was obtained from the competent authority”, the plea stated.
As Naidu was the Chief Minister at the time of the commission of the alleged offence relating to the skill development scam, the competent authority would have been the Governor of the state.
Naidu, presently the Leader of the Opposition, the national president of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), called the action against him as “an orchestrated campaign of regime revenge and to derail the largest opposition in the state, the Telugu Desam Party”.
“The extent of the political vendetta is further demonstrated from the belated application for grant of police custody on September 11, 2023, which names the political opponent i.e. the TDP and also the petitioner’s family, which is being targeted to crush all opposition to the party in power in the State with elections coming near in 2024,” it added.
This motivated campaign of harassment has been allowed to continue by the Courts unabated despite patent illegality in the FIR, the appeal stated.