AP High Court reserves judgment on liquor scam


The Andhra Pradesh high court on Monday reserved the judgment on liquor scam against TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and former minister Kollu Ravindra. The court heard the arguments from both sides of the petitioner and respondent.

The case is that Chandrababu Naidu as chief minister between 2014 and 2019 took new liquor policy benefiting a few select liquor manufacturers in the state. Then excise minister Kollu Ravindra also helped Chandrababu Naidu to take the decision.

State government alleged that both Naidu and Ravindra withdrew the privilege fee in the deal causing heavy loss to the state exchequer. In return they received huge money from the liquor manufacturers, the state government and the APCID said in their reports.

Arguing for Chandrababu Naidu, advocates Nagamutthu and Dammalapati Srinivas told the court that the withdrawal of privilege fee was not reported to Chandrababu Naidu. The file relating to the withdrawal of the fee did not go to Chandrababu Naidu. The decision was taken by then excise minister Kollu Ravindra and excise commissioner, the advocates told the court.

The file was not sent to the finance department, and it was the responsibility of the special chief secretary and not the minister or the chief minister, the advocates informed the bench. The case was filed with an evil intention, they said and requested the court to give anticipatory bail to both Chandrababu Naidu and Ravindra.

The case was filed based on a complaint by AP Beverages Corporation chairman Vasudeva Reddy. The government alleged that both Chandrababu Naidu and Ravindra took the decision, and it has nothing to do with the officials. The two mounted pressure on officials to ensure that the file is moved, and the privilege fee is withdrawn.

While reserving the judgment, the court told the police, particularly the CID not to arrest Chandrababu Naidu in the meanwhile. It wanted the government to wait for the judgment.

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