MLAs poaching row: Court junks police custody of three accused

MLAs poaching row: Court junks police custody of three accused
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MLAs poaching row: Court junks police custody of three accused

Highlights

  • The police released Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nanda Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy following the order by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Court Judge
  • The Judge rejected the police petition for sending the accused to judicial custody, citing lack of evidence

Hyderabad: A city court order rejecting police petition seeking judicial remand for three persons who allegedly tried to poach four MLAs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) came as a big blow to the ruling party.

The police released Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nanda Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy following the order by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Court judge.

Nearly 24 hours after arresting the three persons from a farmhouse near Hyderabad, the police produced them before the judge at his residence in Saroornagar on Thursday night.

Judge G. Rajagopal, however, rejected the police petition for sending the accused to judicial custody, citing lack of evidence. He observed that the Prevention of Corruption Act does not apply to the case as there is no evidence of bribe money.

The judge told police to issue notices to the accused under Section 41 of Criminal Procedure Code for questioning.

Cyberabad police, which released the accused following the court order, are reportedly seeking legal opinion for their next course of action in the case.

The accused said to be close to some top BJP leaders were arrested from a farmhouse at Moinabad on Wednesday night while they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS with offers of huge sums of cash, important positions and contracts.

On a complaint by one of the MLAs Pilot Rohit Reddy, police registered an First Information Report (FIR) against Ramachandra Bharati of Delhi, Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad and Simhayaji Swamy of Tirupati.

The case was registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 171-B (bribery) read with 171-E (punishment of bribery), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and section 8 of Prevention of the Corruption Act.

According to the complainant, the accused offered him an amount of Rs 100 crore. They also offered to give Central government civil contract works and other high Central government positions for monetary benefits and lured him to join the BJP.

The MLA told police that they warned that if he does not join the BJP, there will be criminal cases and raids by ED/CBI and the Telangana government led by TRS will be toppled by them.

The accused offered bribes of Rs 50 crore each to three other MLAs to join the BJP.

On a tip-off by Rohit Reddy, Cyberabad police reached the farmhouse and arrested the three accused.

The accused, including two "godmen", were questioned by the police at an undisclosed location throughout Thursday.

However, the court refused to send them to judicial remand. This has dealt a blow to the TRS which has been accusing BJP of poaching its MLAs to destabilise the government.

The arrests had triggered tremors in the state politics. Ministers, TRS MPs, MLAs and other leaders had taken to the streets to protest against the BJP. The saffron party had denied the allegations and claimed that the drama was scripted by Chief Minister KCR to draw political mileage in view of the Munugode Assembly by-election.

Though there have been speculations that the police recovered huge cash from the farmhouse, no such evidence was produced before the court.

Meanwhile, following the release, Nanda Kumar claimed that they were at the farmhouse for puja. "I have nothing to do with the allegations made," he said. The businessman remarked that justice has prevailed in the case.

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