MLAs poaching case: Telangana seeks suspension of HC order

A division bench of the high court on Monday had dismissed the government's appeal challenging the single judge's order to transfer the investigation into the MLAs poaching case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Tuesday filed a petition in the state High Court, seeking suspension of the order pronounced on Monday in the MLAs’ poaching case so that it can challenge the same in the Supreme Court.

A division bench of the high court on Monday had dismissed the government’s appeal challenging the single judge’s order to transfer the investigation into the MLAs poaching case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A division bench, headed by Justice B. Vijay Sen Reddy, on Tuesday took up the petition for hearing. It, however, asked Advocate General B.S. Prasad to get the permission from Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan. The Advocate General conveyed to the bench that he would approach the Chief Justice on Wednesday.

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The division bench of Chief Justice Bhuyan and Justice N Tukaramji had Monday dismissed the petitions of the state government and MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy challenging the order of the single judge transferring to the CBI the case relating to the alleged attempt to poach four legislators of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

It ruled that the single judge bench’s order can’t be faulted and interfered with.

On December 27, 2022, Justice B Vijaysen Reddy had ordered the transfer of the MLAs’ Poachgate case to the CBI. The High Court had also quashed a Government Order under which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted by the state government to probe the case.

The single judge had pronounced the order on the petitions filed by the accused priest Ramchandra Bharati, pontiff Simhayaji, and restaurant owner Nandu Kumar that they did not have faith in the SIT investigation.

The judge had also observed that the media should not have been given access to investigation material. He also noted that the state has not responded to the question who provided the Chief Minister with investigative materials.

During the hearing on appeal filed by the state government, Supreme Court advocate and senior counsel Dushyant Dave had faulted the order of the single judge for coming to a conclusion based on apprehensions of the accused and the BJP without any material beyond reasonable doubt.

Dave told the court that once evidence was submitted to the court, it becomes a public document and such revealing of public document by the Chief Minister to the media cannot be considered as leakage of material by the investigating agency. He pointed out that while the BJP was toppling state governments by luring MLAs from other parties, there was nothing wrong about the Chief Minister of Telangana bringing to the notice of millions of voters the politics played by the BJP.

The three accused were arrested by Cyberabad police from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26, 2022 when they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of BRS with offers of huge money.

Cyberabad police conducted the raid on a tip-off by Pilot Rohith Reddy, one of the MLAs. He alleged that the accused offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs 50 crore each to three others to make them defect to the BJP.

The state government had subsequently constituted SIT headed by Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand to probe the case.

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