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HC asks details on cost of Amaravati construction

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday sought complete details on the estimated cost of construction of the capital city in Amaravati and how much public money was spent so far.

Hearing a batch of petitions, a three-bench judge comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar, Justice M Satyanarayana Murthy and Justice A V Sesha Sai asked advocate Unnam Muralidhar to submit the details over capital construction in Amaravati. The court served notices to the State Accountant General asking him to submit a detailed report on the source of the funds. The case was posted for the next hearing on August 14.

On his part, Unnam Muralidhar submitted before the court that so far Rs 52,000 crore had been spent as per the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) records. The High Court advocate stated that more than Rs 52,000 crore was spent on infrastructure, government buildings, water, power supply and other works.

The High Court expressed deep concern over the money that had so far been spent on construction of the capital in Amaravati. The High Court asked a volley of questions such as how many buildings were completed, how much money was spent and the outstanding amount to be paid to the contractors. The court asked the government to submit complete details.

During the TDP regime, former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had built buildings for Assembly, Secretariat, High Court and Raj Bhavan. A major part of MLA and MLC quarters was completed. Nearly Rs 9,000 crore was spent on all the works.

The High Court seeing details on money spent on construction of Amaravati comes after it had directed the state government to maintain status quo on the state capital. The order bars the state government from taking any steps on the two controversial Bills – Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 – approved by the Governor for trifurcation of the capital. The court adjourned the hearing till August 14 after the state government sought 10 days time to file a counter to the petitions.

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Blow to Jagan: HC directs state to maintain status quo on three capitals bill

Nearly a week after Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan gave his nod to the two controversial bills, the Andhra Pradesh government received a big blow to its proposed move to create three capitals in the state.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed the Jagan government to maintain status quo on its move to trifurcate the state. Hearing a batch of petitions, the HC stayed the two bills- Decentralization of development and CRDA repeal bill till August 14

The High Court directed the government to file a counter while posting the next hearing to August 14. The petitioners, including Amaravati farmers and Joint Action Committee filed petitions in the HC seeking stay on the gazette issued by the governor

The petitioners through their counsels Shyam Diwan and Muralidhar argued that the bills were approved in the most unconstitutional manner. Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan last week approved the two controversial bills — the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill and APCRDA Repeal Bill paving the way for creating three capitals in Andhra Pradesh — Visakhapatnam as executive capital, Amaravati as legislature capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital. His assent to the two bills comes in the midst of demand by the Opposition parties to refer them to President Ram Nath Kovind. The matter if sub-judice, yet the Governor gave his green signal to the two bills.

On July 18, the Jagan government had sent the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 for setting up three capitals in the state to the Governor for his assent.

Both the Bills were passed in the Assembly in January and introduced in the Council, while the chairman referred them to the Select Committee. The bills were halted in the Assembly for the second time as the session was suspended amid pandemonium.

The previous TDP government has acquired over 35,000 acres of land from over 28,000 farmers in Amaravati. Soon after riding to power, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had proposed three capitals — Amaravati as the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the legal capital. This triggered massive protests from thousands of farmers who gave their lands for the capital construction at Amaravati. ; they have been protesting against the move for more than 230 days now.

The Governor’s approval triggered a fresh political row in the state. TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu termed it as a historic blunder AP Governor’s approval to the two bills and slammed Jagan for the proposed three capitals move stating that it was an unlawful decision in violation of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014.

Naidu said Jagan has betrayed the farmers by announcing that the capital will be shifted to Vizag from Amaravati. He reminded Jagan that he once spoke in favour of Amaravati as the only capital of the state on the floor of the Assembly when he was the Opposition leader prior to 2019 elections. But, after coming to power, the chief minister reversed his decision . “This is betrayal. The dreams of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh remain shattered and farmers aspirations have been butchered by this chief minister,” Naidu criticized.

Naidu also threw a challenge at Jagan to seek re-election as a referendum on the three capitals issue. He challenged the YSRCP leaders to resign and seek fresh voting on Amaravati. He said the TDP leaders, including himself, are ready to resign and seek re-election. “We are ready to quit. Will you also resign and seek a fresh vote on Amaravati and your unwise decision to create three capitals,” Naidu had asked.

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HC relief to Amara Raja Infratech

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In a set back to the Jagan government, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered a stay on the GO issued by the state government to take back 253 acres of land, out of the 483 acres allocated to Amara Raja Infratech (P) Ltd in Chittoor district.

The Jagan government had issued G.O. 33 issued allowing APIIC Limited to take back the unutilised land of 253 acres out of the 483 cres allocated to the M/s. Amara Raja Infratech (P) Ltd.

Challenging the state government move to take back the land, Amara Raja Infratech moved the High Court. The government had contended that the company has not fulfilled its promise to invest Rs 2,100 crore with a potential employment generation of 20,000.

Amara Raja Infratech questioned the government’s wisdom in taking back the land stating that it had entered into a sale agreement with APIIC to buy the land. The company contended that the state government sold the land to APIIC and in turn APIIC had sold the land to the company.

Hearing the petition on Monday, the High Court granted an interim stay over taking back of unused 253 acres from Amar Raja Infra Tech by the AP government.

TDP Lok Sabha member Jayadev Galla family is the promoter of Amara Raja Group companies. The group employees over 20,000 people and generates thousands of crores in revenues.

TDP president Chandrababu Naidu had earlier called it as an act of political vendetta to take back the land allotted to Amara Raja Infratech.

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AP High Court pulls up state police over advocate’s arrest

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court turned its ire on the state police over the illegal arrest of an advocate.

Hearing a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the wife of High Court advocate Subhash Chandra Bose who was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police, the HC expressed deep anguish over the high-handedness of the cops. The court observed that if a senior advocate was arrested and ill-treated by the police, it is difficult to even imagine the plight of the common man. “It is not just about a lawyer. It’s about the common man on the street,” the court observed.

The illegal arrests by the police are continuing in Andhra Pradesh despite assurances made by state DGP Gautam Sawang to the court that such arrests will not reoccur, the HC observed.

Earlier, the High Court had summoned Gautam Sawang to appear in the court in February 2020 in connection with a Habeas Corpus petition filed against the police for illegally arresting two people – Reddi Gowtham and his wife Y Lochini from north Andhra in October. The police had failed to produce the duo before the court. After examining the Habeas Corpus petition, the HC had ordered a judicial inquiry and a senior civil judge of Vizag city was appointed to conduct an inquiry into the petition.

In the Habeas Corpus petition filed by the wife of High Court advocate Subhash Chandra Bose, the petitioner argued that her husband was illegally detained by the Prathipadu police, Yeleshwaram village in the East Godavari district without following due procedures. The petitioner contended that her husband was arrested in the middle of the night by breaking open the doors of their residence. She stated that Prathipadu CI, Yeleshwaram SIs and constables bared into their residence on Sunday midnight and illegally detained him.

She also informed the court that the police did not inform why her husband was being arrested or where he was being taken. In the petition, she also mentioned that her father–in-law worked as Yeleshwaram municipal chairman.

She also stated that her husband has political differences with the ruling dispensation and that her husband was threatened on several occasions by the ruling party leaders. In this context, her husband also filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission. In the petition, she appealed to the court to give orders to the police to produce her husband before it.

A two-bench of the High Court headed by Justices Rakesh Kumar and Suresh Reddy on Tuesday ordered the East Godavari Superintendent of Police to produce the arrested advocate, Subhash Chandra Bose, before it on July 27. Further, the HC directed the Andhra Pradesh police to submit a detailed report on why it had to swoop down on the residence of Subhash Chandra Bose to conduct the midnight arrest. The court also questioned why Andhra Pradesh had failed to follow due procedures in arresting the advocate.

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HC turns down Pithani Suresh anticipatory bail plea

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The High Court on Monday turned down the anticipatory bail petition filed by former labour and employment minister Pithani Satyanarayana’s son Pithani Suresh.

On July 10, Pithani Suresh filed anticipatory bail petition after the ACB arrested Pithani Satyanarayana’s former personal secretary Murali Mohan at the Secretariat in Amaravati. Fearing arrest, Pithani Suresh had filed an anticipatory bail.

The petitioner’s lawyer argued that the arrests were being carried out as part of the YSRCP government’s vindictive politics. Hearing the case, the High Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail plea. The ACB officials are on the lookout for Pithani Suresh to arrest him. On July 10, the ACB sleuths swooped down on his residence in Hyderabad.

The ACB has so far arrested at least 10 accused in the ESI scam, including senior TDP leader Atchannaidu.

The ESI scam relates to several irregularities in the purchase of medicines, surgical equipment and furniture to the tune of Rs 150. The Vigilance and Enforcement directorate found irregularities in the procurement of drugs, medicines and medical kits.

Atchannaidu was arrested on June 12 in an early morning swoop from his residence in Tekkali in Srikakulam district although his name did not figure in the Vigilance and Enforcement directorate report. ESI directors C Ravi Kumar, G Vijay Kumar, joint director Janardhan, superintendent Chakravarthy and a senior assistant were already arrested.

Around 300 police personnel circled Atchannaidu’s residence, some of them even scaled the compound wall, barged in and arrested. The TDP leader at the time of arrest underwent piles surgery. Despite the surgery, the TDP leader was made to travel more than 500 kms from his home town to Guntur and forced to sit in a car for over 15 hours.

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Amara Raja Group goes to High Court against Govt order

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One by one, most of the industrial groups are knocking at the doors of the courts against the policies of the Jaganmohan Reddy government. Global solar companies have already been fighting legal battles. The Navayuga Group once approached the court on the Polavaram project issue. Now, the Amara Raja Batteries major company has gone to the High Court seeking justice in the face of political victimisation by the Jagan Reddy regime. The company asked the Court for cancelling the AP Government’s order regarding the lands.

It may be recalled that Amara Raja Group belongs to MP Galla Jayadev family. The ruling YCP has been bringing pressure on the Galla family for shifting loyalty. As they were not yielding, the Jagan Reddy regime issued orders to take back 253 acres that were allotted to Amara Raja Batteries in Chittoor district.

The High Court heard the case today and reserved its orders. The company was asserting that they were strictly adhering to the agreement reached with the Government. The remaining acres would also be used for the future expansion of their project. But, now the government’s latest order has come as a rude shock to the company. Ever since coming to power, the CM has been relentlessly targetting all Opposition leaders who have got industries, mines and businesses. It is becoming more and more difficult for rival leaders to continue in politics because of unchecked political victimisation.

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Petition in HC over Atchannaidu’s release from Vijayawada sub-jail

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A petition was filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday to shift former labour minister and TDP deputy floor leader in the State Assembly Kinjarapu Atchannaidu from Vijayawada sub-jail to the Guntur General Hospital.

The petitioner, P Venkatesh, argued that the YSRCP government in an act of political vendetta has exerted pressure on the Guntur General Hospital management in discharging Atchannaidu from the hospital and shifted him to Vijayawada sub-jail.

The petitioner also contended Atchannaidu was discharged from the hospital even though he did not completely recover from the second surgery he had undergone in the Guntur General Hospital. Considering Atchannaidu’s medical condition, the petitioner appealed to the court to direct the government to admit him in a hospital for further treatment. The High Court is likely to hear the case tomorrow.

On Wednesday, Atchnnaidu was discharged from the Guntur General Hospital and shifted to Vijayawada sub-jail even as the ACB court is likely to take up Atchnnaidu’s bail petition today.

Atchnnaidu had also written to the superintendent of Guntur General Hospital that he be discharged from the hospital only after his complete recovery. Further, Atchnnaidu in his letter to the superintendent noted that certain medical reports were still pending. Atchnnaidu had to undergo colonoscopy and Covid-19 tests.

Despite his plea, Atchnnaidu was shifted to Vijayawada sub-jail. Atchnnaidu was shifted to the Vijayawada sub-jail after the ACB sleuths had completed its interrogation in the Guntur General Hospital. The interrogation had lasted for about 10 hours and 30 minutes spread over the three days, three hours on the first day, five hours the second day and two hours and 30 minutes the third day. Earlier, the ACB court on June 27 had extended the remand of Atchannaidu till July 10.

Atchannaidu was arrested on June 12 in an early morning swoop from his residence in Tekkali in Srikakulam district. Around 300 police personnel circled Atchannaidu’s residence, some of them even scaled the compound wall, barged in and arrested.

The TDP leader at the time of arrest underwent piles surgery. Despite the surgery, the TDP leader was made to travel more than 500 kms from his home town to Guntur and forced to sit in a car for over 15 hours. Atchannaidu was arrested in the ESI scam that relates to the purchase of drugs, medicines, medical kits and furniture. The Vigilance and Enforcement directorate found irregularities in the procurement of drugs, medicines and medical kits.

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Release seized vehicles in 3 days: HC to Gautam Sawang

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In a huge embarrassment to the state police, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday pulled up DGP Gautam Sawang on the seizure of vehicles used for transportation of liquor.

Hearing a batch of petitions, the High Court ordered the police to immediately release the seized vehicles. Asking the DGP to explain why due procedures were not followed in seizure of the vehicles, the court gave three days time to release the vehicles and hand them over to the respective owners.

The petitioners contended that the police were not following the rules stipulated under CrPC and the AP Excise Act in seizing the vehicles and that their vehicles were getting damaged as they were kept outside the police stations.

Earlier, the HC had pulled up Gautam Sawang why action should not be taken against the police for arresting TDP president and former chief minister

N Chandrababu Naidu at the Vizag airport on February 27 when he arrived to participate in various party programmes. The TDP boss was arrested despite securing necessary permissions from the police to hold the party’s programmes. However, the YSRCP workers arrived at the airport and disallowed Naidu from entering into the city and thereby forcibly stopped him from taking part in the party’s programmes. Deposing before the court,

Sawang had admitted that Naidu’s arrest was not in the spirit of Sec.151(1). The HC asked him to take action against the assistant commissioner and the commissioner of police of Vizag who served the arrest notice.

In another case, Gautam Sawang had to appear before the court on February 14 in connection with a habeas corpus petition filed by a person from Visakhapatnam accusing the police of illegally confining his son and daughter-in-law in a house in Vijayawada.

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HC grants anticipatory bail to Ayyanna Patrudu

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In a big relief to senior TDP leader and former minister Chintakayala Ayyanna Patrudu, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to him against whom a case under the Nirbhaya Act was booked.

Narsipatnam municipal Commissioner Krishnaveni filed a case against Ayyanna Patrudu under Sections 354-A (4), 500, 504, 5050 (1) (B), 505 (2), 506 and 509 under the Nirbhaya Act.

On his part, Ayyanna Patrudu moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court contending that the Jagan government was acting out of political vendetta by foisting false cases against him. He had urged the High Court to dismiss the cases filed against him.

On Monday, hearing the petition, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to Ayyanna Patrudu.

Narsipatnam municipal Commissioner Krishnaveni filed a case against Ayyanna Patrudu when the TDP leader questioned why his grandfather Latcha Patrudu’s photo was removed from the municipal office. However, Krishnaveni accused Ayyanna Patrudu of making objectionable comments against her and filed a police case against him.

Earlier, Dr Sudhakar Rao was arrested after he met Ayyanna Patrudu. Dr Sudhakar Rao’s mother Kaveri Bai had pointed out that his son was beaten, dragged on the streets and sent to an asylum only because he had met Ayyanna Patrudu.

TDP president and former CM N Chandrababu Naidu termed the arrests of the party leaders as politically motivated. Naidu had also complained to Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan that the arrests and foisting of cases against party leaders Atchannaidu, Ayanna Patrudu, Prabhakar Reddy and his son Asmith Reddy were undemocratic and acts of political vengeance.

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Jagan Govt playing cat and mouse game with AP High Court?

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AP Government’s Advocate General has said Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar has illegally appointed himself as State Election Commissioner based on the High Court order. He says the restoration of Ramesh Kumar is left to the State government as per the court order. After this, State Election Commission Secretary has issued a statement withdrawing Ramesh Kumar taking charge as SEC. Now, the Government says since it is the implementing authority of the court orders, it can take its own sweet time to use its right of appeal in higher court. The Jagan Reddy regime has been displaying the same defiance against each and every High Court order. It was clear in respect of the YCP flag colours on Government buildings and also English medium in government schools.

The High Court gave a landmark, final judgement in Ramesh Kumar case. It has also termed appointment of SEC Kanagaraj as highly objectionable and untenable since it has dismissed the Ordinance concerned as unconstitutional. The High Court has listed out lots of points finding fault with the Government.

Advocates fraternity, opposition parties and civil society hailed the judgement as a victory for democracy and a slap for Jagan Reddy Government. All their enthusiasm was gone as once again AP Government defied High Court orders and caused removal of SEC Ramesh Kumar a second time. Analysts say Jagan Reddy regime is obviously playing a dangerous cat and mouse game with the judiciary. Especially, it is reversing each and every order of the High Court just as it has reversed all tenders and development and welfare of previous TDP rule.

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Dr Sudhakar Rao in police or judicial custody? HC asks AP

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After receiving a hard knock on the knuckles of the AP government in Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, the Jagan government received another blow in Dr Sudhakar Rao’s case.

Hearing a petition filed by Dr Sudhakar Rao who is confined to the government mental hospital in Vizag, the High Court on Friday asked the state government to clarify if the doctor was in the police or judicial custody. Further, the court raised serious apprehensions about the medical treatment being given to Dr Sudhakar Rao and directed the state government to ensure that the doctor gets best of treatment. To this, the government assured the court that Dr Sudhakar Rao will be given good care and treatment. The government counsel sought two days time to submit a detailed report. “What is the guarantee that there won’t be any problem to the doctor’s health in these two days,” the court questioned the state counsel.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Dr Sudhakar Rao who moved the High Court appealing the court to give a directive to the state government to shift him to another hospital. In the petition, Dr Sudhakar Rao said doctors at the mental hospital in Vizag were administering wrong medicines, medicines that are used to treat insane patient. He also listed the medicines that were being administered including Calmpose and Haloperidol. Haloperidol is an antipsychotic medicine that is used to treat schizophrenia. He said the medicines have caused serious side-effects. The High Court had already directed the CBI to probe the highhandedness of the police.

Dr Sudhakar Rao was suspended as civil surgeon from the Narsipatnam government hospital. In a move that is seen as vendetta, the doctor was arrested on charges of drunk driving. He was dragged on the streets, his shirt removed, his both hands tied with a rope while a constable repeatedly delivered blows with his lathi.

On Friday, Dr Sudhakar Rao’s mother Kaveri Rao visited the Government Mental Hospital and expressed fears that her son’s life was at a grave risk. She demanded that her son be shifted to another hospital. Lashing out at the state government for illegal confinement of her son in a mental hospital, Kaveri Rao said it is unfortunate that the ruling dispensation has attributed political motives to her son for raising his voice against the shortage of medical equipment in government hospitals.

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HC contempt notices against Gudivada Amarnath, Sakshi’s Kommineni

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday issued contempt notices to another 44 persons including a YSRCP leader and senior journalists for making remarks that lower the image of judges and the court.

Taking up the issue suo motu, Chief Justice J Maheswari and Justice Praveen Kumar on Friday observed that the interviews, remarks, speeches and postings appear to be part of a conspiracy to scandalise and lower the image of judiciary.

The High Court had issued notices to Anakapalle YSR Congress MLA Gudivada Amarnath, senior journalist and Sakshi TV anchor Kommineni Srinivasa Rao and Prasad Reddy.

The High Court had recently issued contempt notices against 49 people, including Bapatla MP Nandigam Suresh and former Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan. The High Court had issued notices to Nandigam Suresh for controversial remarks attributing motives to the court stating that TDP president and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was managing even courts. “Chandrababu Naidu seems to know the High Court verdict 10 minutes in advance. Chandrababu’s call list should be examined to verify if he is involved in the judgement process,” Nandigam Suresh had commented.

YSRCP leader and former Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan found fault with the High Court directive to the CBI to probe the police highhandedness against Dr Sudhakar Rao. The YSRCP leader also remarked that he would have launched an agitation against the court directive but for the lockdown. “If every petty is handed over to the CBI, then the central government should set up a CBI office attached to all the police stations in the state,” he said. The court ordered that contempt notices be sent to the respondents through e-mail, WhatsApp or any other mode and posted the hearing to June 16.

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Dr Sudhakar Rao moves High Court

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Dr Sudhakar Rao, who was suspended by the Jagan government for raising his voice against the shortage of medical equipment and later confined to mental hospital, on Thursday moved the High Court.

The Civil Surgeon of Narsipatnam government hospital on Thursday filed a petition requesting that he be shifted to another hospital. In the petition, Dr Sudhakar Rao said wrong medicines were being administered leading to serious side-effects. In the pettion, Dr Sudhakar listed the medicines that were being administered including Calmpose and Haloperidol. Haloperidol is an antipsychotic medicine that is used to treat schizophrenia. He said the medicines have caused serious side-effects.

Haloperidol is also used to control motor and speech tics in people with Tourette’s syndrome. Calmpose is used in the treatment of short-term anxiety. It can also be used to treat acute alcohol withdrawal, to relieve muscle spasm and as adjunctive therapy for seizures. He also wrote a letter to the superintendent of the government mental hosptial on Wednesday in this regard.

The High Court is likely to take up hearing on the case tommorrow. The High Court had already directed the CBI to probe the highhandedness of the police. On Wednesday, TV channels showed the visuals of Dr Sudhakar Rao in the government mental hospital. The effects of the medicines were clearly visible on his lips, as per the visuals.

Dr Sudhakar Rao has been confined in the government mental hospital since the last two weeks without conducting any tests to determine if he was mentally unsound. After suspending the doctor, the police dragged him on the streets, tied him up to a rope under the pretext that he was caught drunk driving.

On Wednesday, Dr Sudhakar Rao’s relatives including his mother Kaveri Rao met the doctor at the mental hospital. Addressing the media on Wednesday after meeting his son at the government mental hospital in Vizag, Kaveri Rao feared that there was a threat to his life and he should be immediately shifted to another hospital. Further, Kaveri Rao asked the state government to explain how his son, a doctor with several years of experience, has turned insane just after Dr Sudhakar Rao raised his voice against shortage of medical equipment in government hospitals.

“Kindly save my son. His health has deteriorated since he was admitted to the mental hospital. He has lost weight. The doctors at the mental hospital are administering wrong medicines, medicines that are used to treat insane patients. The government is making serious attempts to browbeat my son by weakening him emotionally and physically,” this is the anguish Dr Sudhakar Rao’s 90-year-old mother Kaveri Rao expressed her anguish.

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AP High Court serves notices on Nandigam Suresh, Amanchi Krishna Mohan & 47 others

Taking suo motu notice of disparaging comments made against the judiciary, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday served notices on 49 people, including Bapatla MP Nandigam Suresh and former Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan.

The High Court issued notices to Bapatla YSRCP MP Nandigam Suresh for his recent controversial remarks against the court. At a press briefing, the Bapatla MP attributed motives to the court stating that TDP president and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was managing even courts. “Chandrababu Naidu seems to know the High Court verdict 10 minutes in advance. Chandrababu’s call list should be examined to verify if he is involved in the judgement process.” These are not just highly objectionable remarks, but amount to contempt of court.

The High Court also served notice on former Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan for making remarks that are contempt in nature. While Nadigam Suresh had cast aspersions on the courts with his “Naidu managing courts” remarks, YSRCP leader and former Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan found fault with the High Court directive to the CBI to probe the police highhandedness against Dr Sudhakar Rao.

The civil surgeon of Narsipatnam government hospital was suspended for raising his voice against shortage of medical equipement like masks, gloves and PPEs. On the pretext of drunk driving, the police dragged him on the streets, his shirt removed, his both hands tied with a rope while a constable repeatedly delivered blows with his lathi. The videos of the same went viral.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the way Dr Sudhakar Rao was harassed, the High Court had directed the CBI to thoroughly probe the incident. Reacting to this, Amanchi Krishna Mohan said it was petty case, one that does not warrant a CBI investigation. “It’s a petty case. For every petty case, a CBI investigation should not be ordered. The High Court ordering CBI probe has surprised everyone in the state,” he said. He didn’t stop there. Fuming at the HC directive, the YSRCP leader further said people will lose faith in the courts with such directives. “It is not correct to comment on court verdicts, but it is not correct on the part of the court to order a CBI probe,” he commented. The YSRCP leader said that he would have launched an agitation against the court directive but for the lockdown. “If every petty is handed over to the CBI, then the central government should set up a CBI office attached to all the police stations in the state,” he said.

Further, the High Court also took serious view on the comments made against the court and the judges in various social media platforms and websites. The court has issued notices to various social media platforms. The court gave three weeks time for the respondents to reply to the notices. The court posted the next hearing on the case to June 16.

Earlier, reacting to Nandigam Suresh comments against the High Court, TDP politburo member Varla Ramaiah had recently appealed to the AP High Court to take suo motu notice and initiate contempt proceedings against him for making such disparaging remarks against the judiciary. He also demanded that Nandigam Suresh’s Lok Sabha membership be suspended.

In the past, the High Court had also initiated contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary, DGP Gautam Sawang and other top officials for violating the court’s directive to remove YSRCP party colours on government buildings and panchayat offices.

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Contempt proceedings against Jagan govt over party colours on govt buildings?

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday ordered contempt proceedings against the state government for violating its directive to remove the party colours on the government buildings and panchayat offices.

The contempt proceedings come in the wake of the Jagan government issuing GO 623 which cleverly tried to circumvent the HC’s directive to remove the YSRCP colours on the government buildings. Suspending the GO 623, the High Court had directed the state government to remove the party colours on government buildings and panchyat offices. Instead of removing the party colours on the government buildings, the Jagan sarkar had added one more colour – Terracotta (mud colour signifying earth) to the existing three colours. In the said GO, the YSRCP ruling gave a new meaning to the colours. The government argued that Green symbolizes green revolution (agriculture), Blue colour for blue revolution (water resources and acqua wealth), White colour for white revolution (milk and milk products).

Hearing a petition filed by advocate Somayajulu challenging the GO 623 on Friday, the High Court observed that the state government was trying to undermine the court’s directive by trying to circumvent its order by adding one more colour to the existing three colours and therefore amounted to contempt of court. The High Court reportedly issued contempt notices against Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Gopalakrishna Dwivedi. The High Court directed the AG to file a counter affidavit by May 28.

Earlier, a petition filed by Muppa Venkateswara Rao challenging the state government move to paint the government buildings with party colours and pleaded the the High Court to direct the state government to remove the colours as it could influence voters during the civic body elections.

Last month, the High Court had noted that the manner in which entire the issue is being dealt with by the state government compels the court to think and observe that the state government was not removing the colours associated with the ruling YSRCP, from the walls of panchayat offices and other government buildings with an eye on the elections to civic bodies. The advocate general sought three months time and informed the High Court that the colours can be removed only once the lockdown is completely lifted and that the government will inform the court time needed to remove the party colours in the next hearing. Refusing to give three months time, the HC pulled up the government for dragging its feet on the issue. “We will give three months time with a condition that the state government will not hold elections till that time,” the High Court observed.

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Blow to Jagan govt, HC revokes suspension order against Venkateshwara Rao

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In a yet another blow to the Jagan government, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday revoked the suspension order against senior IPS officer, Venkateshwara Rao, who served in the rank of Director-General. The state government had in February suspended Venkateshwara Rao on charges of violating the All India Services (AIS) Rules.

Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney issued orders suspending Rao, and directed him not to leave Vijayawada without obtaining permission from the government, during the suspension period.

The High Court also set aside the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order which had upheld the state government’s decision to suspend the senior IPS officer. Rao served as Additional DG (CID) and also as Director-General (Intelligence). He was not given any posting after the YSRCP came into power. Setting aside the CAT order, the High Court on Friday directed the state government to reinstate Rao and pay him salary during the suspension period.

The state government had alleged that Rao colluded with a foreign defence manufacturing company, R.T. Inflatables Private Limited, and reportedly leaked critical police and intelligence information to the Israel-based company.
On his part, Rao moved CAT challenging the suspension order. In his petition before the CAT, Rao alleged that the state government did not give him any posting and placed him under suspension on vague charges which was in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and principles of natural justice.

In one year of YSRCP ruling, the Jagan sarkar had to swallow a bitter pill in the court battles by losing all of them. With over 50 cases in last 11 months, the TDP opposition stated that the government set a record of sorts in court battles. The government passed a GO to implement English medium from classes 1 to 6 in state-run schools and gradually extend to each further class from the next consequent academic years, but the GO was struck down by the High Court terming it illegal and violative of the constitutional rights. In yet another tight slap to the Jagan government, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had suspended the GO 623 of the state government which tried to circumvent the court’s earlier directive to remove the party colours on the government buildings and panchayat offices by adding one more color.

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HC orders CBI probe into Dr Sudhakar case; I hope courts will restore dignity of my son: Kaveri Rao

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday directed the CBI to probe into the high-handed behaviour of the police against Narsipatnam area hospital civil assistant surgeon Sudhakar Rao.

Further, the High Court directed the CBI to register a case against the Vishakaptanam police for physically assaulting the doctor who was suspended by the Jagan government in April after he raised voice of dissent over shortage of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment).

The High Court also took a serious note of a magisterial probe report that found physical injuries on the doctor after he was beaten up by the police and wondered why a report submitted by the state government did not make any mention of injuries.

Earlier, the High Court directed the Visakhapatnam sessions judge to record the statement of a suspended government doctor allegedly manhandled by the police in full public view in Visakhapatnam last week.

It may be recalled that the ]senior doctor from the Narsipatnam Area Hospital was recently detained by the police for allegedly causing nuisance on a main road in Visakhapatnam. The doctor, according to the police, created nuisance in an inebriated condition. Vidoes that went viral showed a barechested Dr Sudhakar Rao lying on down on the road, the police tying his hands up even as one constable hits him with a lathi. The police later bundled the doctor into an auto. He was later shifted to King George Hospital, where doctors found him in an inebriated condition. He was subsequently referred to Government Hospital for Mental Health, where he was under treatment for acute and transient psychosis. The police booked the doctor under Sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50).
Meanwhile, Sudhakar Rao’s mother Kaveri Rao condemned the police action and said his son had no mental health issues. She hailed the High Court verdict of CBI probe into the incident and hoped that justice will prevail. “I have no faith in the AP police. The police kicked him and treated him in most inhumane manner. The way he was taken into custody by tying his hands with a rope clearly showed that he was targeted because he raised his voice against the shortage of PPEs. He faced both physical and verbal abuses since the day he raised the issue of shortage of medical equipment. I have total faith in the justice system. I hope the courts will restore the dignity and honour of my son,” Kaveri Rao said on Friday.

The video clips of police tying the doctor’s hands behind him, dragging and manhandling him triggered outrage with the opposition parties, doctors’ associations and Dalit groups condemning the police action. TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the YSRCP government treated the doctor with vengeance for criticising it over not supplying masks to the doctors. However, the YSRCP alleged that the doctor was ‘in cahoots’ with the TDP to malign the government.

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HC directs Vizag judge to record suspended doctor’s statement

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday directed the Visakhapatnam sessions judge to record the statement of a suspended government doctor allegedly manhandled by the police in full public view in Visakhapatnam last week.

The High Court directed the sessions judge to personally visit the Government Hospital for Mental Health where Dr K. Sudhakar Rao is admitted and record his statement.

The court issued orders that the doctor’s statement be submitted to it by Thursday evening.

The court passed the orders on a petition seeking a probe into the doctor’s manhandling, arrest and admission to a mental hospital.

Sudhakar Rao, civil assistant surgeon, Area Hospital, Narsipatnam, who was suspended two months ago after he publicly criticised the government for failing to provide N95 masks to the doctors treating Covid-19 patients, was arrested by the police in Visakhapatnam on May 16 for allegedly creating nuisance on the road at Akkayapalem.

The policemen allegedly manhandled the doctor, who was seen shirtless to the waist, dragged him and bundled him into an autorickshaw. He was shifted to King George Hospital, where doctors found him in an inebriated condition. He was subsequently referred to Government Hospital for Mental Health, where he was under treatment for acute and transient psychosis.

The police booked the doctor under the Indian Penal Code sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50).

Police said the doctor behaved rudely with a traffic head constable, snatched his mobile phone and threw it away. He allegedly behaved aggressively with an autorickshaw driver and others and caused a traffic jam.

Police claimed that as the doctor could have endangered his own life, he was taken into custody and since he was in an inebriated condition, he was shifted to KGH for an alcohol test.

The video clips of police tying the doctor’s hands behind him, dragging and manhandling him triggered outrage with the opposition parties, doctors’ associations and Dalit groups condemning the police action.

Former chief minister and leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the YSR Congress Party government treated the doctor with vengeance for criticising it over not supplying masks to the doctors.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has lodged a protest with the Andhra Pradesh government over the police inappropriately handling Dr Sudhakar, an anesthetist.

“There were certainly civilised ways of handling the situation by a civilian government. That he was under suspension for allegedly raising safety issues in the hospital was all the more reason for sensitive handling of the issue,” the IMA headquarters said in a letter to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The association made it clear that it doesn’t hold a brief for Dr Sudhakar uttering unparliamentary words against the chief minister. “Such public behaviour is unacceptable and a conscientious apology is in order,” it said

“In the meantime the way a member of the medical profession was handled in public is very disturbing. It has hurt the doctors across the nation,” the IMA added.

IMA wrote that it expects a fair investigation into the incident and his suspension and demanded punishment for the erring police officials.

IMA noted that its Andhra Pradesh branch rose to the occasion in defending the dignity of the doctor and looking after his health. It appended with its letter the interim report of the fact finding committee of IMA, AP.

The fact finding committee demanded that charges against Dr Sudhakar must be withdrawn and concurrently, he must apologise for using foul language against the chief ministers of both the Telugu states.

The panel opined that the police brutality was a sad fallout of his suspension from service for certain comments of his at that time.

It found that the suspension affected the mental health of Sudhakar and caused agony to his family.

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Petition in HC to stop sale of liquor in AP, impose total prohibition

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Nearly a week after the Jagan government allowed liquor shops in the state to open, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Andhra Pradesh High Court demanding their closure.

The petition has been filed by the Mathrubhoomi Foundation. The petitioner through the counsel BSNV Prasad contended that the opening of liquor shops is failing the purpose of lockdown as people are flouting social distancing norms and huge crowds are gathering outside the liquor shops. Such over-crowding can lead to potential spread of the virus. Further, the petitioner also argued that consumption of alcohol weakens immune system and could make the individuals who consume liquor vulnerable to viruses.

The petitioner said cheap liquor was being sold which can be detrimental to the health of those who consume it and experts should examine the cheap liquor to ascertain the ill-effects it can have on the people.

The petitioner also contended that the complete lockdown was the best period to impose total prohibition. The state counsel said the government was committed to impose total prohibition in Andhra Pradesh and contended that it will do so in a phased manner. Hearing both the arguments, the High Court directed the state government to file a counter-affadavit and posted the next hearing to Friday.

After the AP government reopened sale of liquor, massive crowds turned up at the liquor outlets with queues stretching up to five to six kilometers in some green and orange zones. The crowd completely broke lockdown norms and openly violated social distancing norm. Such was the crowd that the government had to employ teachers to regulate the queues, which was fiercely opposed by TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Recently, Chandrababu Naidu and other senior TDP leaders Bonda Uma, Devineni Uma and Jawahar Reddy opposed liquor sales and raised serious concern over sale of cheap liquor in disregard for the health and well being of people of Andhra Pradesh. The Jagan government was selling liquor at a time Covid-19 was spreading fast in Andhra Pradesh. Naidu slammed the Jagan government easing lockdown restrictions by allowing to liquor sales whil not extending similar relaxations to enable farmers to sell their produce. Allowing liquor sale during the ongoing nationwide lockdown has caused unmanageable over-crowding at liquor stores, making social distancing impossible and defeating the very purpose of a lockdown, Naidu had said.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

High Court notices to State and Centre on gas tragedy

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court took suo motu notice of the Vizag gas tragedy which left over 10 persons dead and hundreds badly injured. The Court asked how such a factory storing lethal gases could be allowed to continue in thickly populated localities in the city. The Court has also issued notices to both the State and the Central Governments to give their responses on the toxic leakage.

The High Court took media reports into consideration for taking note of the human tragedy. The local people have been complaining that they were long agitating for relocation of the factory to a far-away place where there are no human habitations. There were also demands for relocation of the factory to a special economic zone.

The court took serious view of the harm that was done to the hundreds and thousands of residents living nearby the factory premises. Children and women were the worst affected in the tragedy. Media images and videos portrayed how gas victims collapsed on roadsides while some were seen losing consciousness.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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