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Cash-for-Vote Scam: HC Reserves Judgment on Revanth’s Bail Plea

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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]igh Court of Hyderabad has reserved its judgment on bail plea of the main accused in the cash-for-vote scam, Revanth Reddy to June 30. While Revanth’s advocates said that main investigation into the case is over and that he can be granted bail as he’s a public representative.

The advocate general of Telangana state, who is arguing on behalf of ACB, said that bail shouldn’t be granted to Revant Reddy. The lawyers have also said that source of the amount involved in the cash-for-vote is yet to be ascertained. In case, bail is granted to Revanth Reddy, he can tamper with the evidences and can influence the witnesses in the case, argued ACB. It may be recalled that Revanth Reddy was arrested 25 days ago by ACB after they allegedly caught him redhanded while striking a criminal deal with a nominated MLA to Telangana assembly–Elvis Stephenson.

(Phani B) 

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Stephenson’s Statement to Nail Naidu?

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he cash-for-vote scam seems to be a never ending topic especially on television channels.  Barely a day after Andhra Pradesh police served notices on T News for allegedly telecasting AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s alleged conversation with nominated MLA to Telangana assembly, Elvis Stephenson, a vernacular news channel claimed that it got the statement of Stephenson, which was recorded before a magistrate at Nampally Court in Hyderabad.

[pullquote position=”left”] In his statement to the court, Stephenson reportedly said that Chandrababu Naidu was the kingpin of the entire cash-for-vote scam.[/pullquote]

In his statement to the court, Stephenson reportedly said that Chandrababu Naidu was the kingpin of the entire cash-for-vote scam. He said that Mathaiah (one of the accused in the scam) visited Stephenson’s residence on May 28 and offered him a sum of two crore rupees besides an air travel ticket in case he accepts to refrain from MLC elections under MLA quota .

On May 29, Stephenson said that he wanted to deal with the key person in this episode after which he was told it was TDP MLA Revanth Reddy who handled it. It was then Stephenson approached the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and DGP of Telangana state and gave a written complaint over the same.

On May 30, another two accused in the scam—Sebastian and Antony visited Stephenson’s residence while the former told Stephenson that he was sent by Chandrababu Naidu. Later in the noon 12, Revanth Reddy visited Stephenson’s residence. Stephenson informed the same to ACB, who installed cameras at nominated MLA’s residence.[dropcap][/dropcap]

On May 31,  Sebastian telephoned Stephenson and said he wanted to visit him along with Revanth Reddy, however, at a different location. Accordingly, Stephenson arranged for the meeting at his friend’s (Malcolm Taylor) place and also informed the same to ACB who installed cameras-this time- at Taylor’s residence. Later, in the evening Revanth Reddy and Sebastian visited Taylor’s residence with a bag  that contained 50 lakh rupees. It is known that the sting operation was later released to the media by unknown sources.

Notably, Stephenson even told the magistrate the person who connected him to Chandrababu Naidu was Harry Sebastian.

The experts said that this statement of Stephenson will apparently considered as a key evidence. Let us wait and watch when and how curtains will be drawn on this infamous cash-for-vote scam.

(Phani B)

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.

Scribes in Telangana Protest Against Notices to T News

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith Andhra Pradesh police serving notices on a vernacular news channel, T News, journalists across Telangana state staged protests and held demonstrations against the act alleging that it was an attempt to curb the freedom of press. 

Notably, the Andhra Pradesh police-in its notice- stated that the news channel, T News, disturbed the public tranquility by telecasting Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s alleged telephonic conversation with Telangana’s nominated MLA, Elvis Stephenson. It may be noted that the police served notices based on complaint of an advocate from Vizag.The notice went on to mention that the programme that was aired on June 7 night affected the maintenance of public order, which violated Section-5 of Cable TV News Network Act. It may be recalled that T News had telecast the audio conversation between Babu and Stephenson shortly after the arrest of TDP MLA from Telangana region, Revanth Reddy.

[pullquote position=”left”] Indian Journalists Union’s (IJU) secretary general, Devulapalli Amar condemned the incident and said that none in the world has the authority to question the media of its sources. [/pullquote]

Is Cable TV News Network Act Applicable to TV Channel?

The matter that is being widely debated amongst journalists’ circle today is—whether Cable TV News Network Act can be slapped against a television channel, as the legal experts are of the opinion that this act shall be invoke only against cable television operation and that T News was a cable television operator but a news channel.

What are the possible sections that can be invoked?

The legal experts said that it would have been better and significant in case the following sections were invoked—IPC Sec499 (defamation), IPC Sec502 and IPC Sec120B (criminal conspiracy). They were apparently puzzled as to why these chose Cable TV Network Act. Was it an attempt that would presumably make KCR to strike a compromise deal with Babu, they questioned among themselves.

Attack on the media?

The journalists in Telangana region reacted vehemently to the notices that were served by the police against T News. A large number of scribes gathered outside the DGP office of AP Police in Hyderabad. The sources said that nearly 100 journalists were already taken into the custody.  Meanwhile, the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) secretary general, Devulapalli Amar condemned the incident and said that none in the world has the authority to question the media of its sources. Serving notices to media is an attempt to curb press freedom, he added.

BJP Jumps into Defence:

Telangana BJP president and MLA, Kishan Reddy has responded to the notices served on T news. He has said that BJP was not against the freedom of press. He, however, criticised KCR and Chandrababu Naidu for indulging in political war. 

It now looks like Chandrababu Naidu purportedly crossed swords with freedom of the press. How these cases can curtain press freedom is still a debatable issue.

(Phani B)

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.

Jagan’s political tomfoolery in cash-for-vote scam

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It is pretty clear that the political heat between AP and TS governments is coming down.  An impression that things will be allowed to take their own course without any political influence with regard to the cash-for-vote scam and so called  phone-tapping charge by AP government is gaining ground. Not only have warring factions, TDP and TRS, fallen silent, the YSRC leadership which played in the sidelines has also stepped aside.  Centre took objection to the unsavoury remarks being made by AP ministers against Governor .  Finally, chief minister Naidu had to instruct his colleagues against attracting the wrath of Raj Bhvan. His office on Friday midday informed journalists about CM’s advisory to the ministers.

In whole drama, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, YSR Congress president and Opposition leader in AP Assembly, played a bit of tomfoolery.  Ever since the cash-for-vote sting tapes leaked to electronic media, it was Jagan who behaved like a man-possessed.

He thought the  cash-of-vote case was a great opportunity  to settle scores with  his bête noire chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and to send him to Chenchalguda jail, where the former Kadapa MP spent nearly one and half year.

He made more noise than any other politician in the state on cash-for-vote scam. He was more vocal in demanding that Naidu be made accused number one. He also demanded that Naidu should step down and face the probe. He also extended support to TRS government in Telangana to act quickly in arresting the AP chief minister. As if it was not enough he rushed to New Delhi and petitioned to the President Pranab Mukherjee and union home minister Rajnath Singh for a high-level probe in to Naidu’s role in cash-for-vote scam.

He lamented that Andhra Pradesh,under Naidu’s rule, had become a haven of corruption.

Jagan seems to have underestimated the depth of regional sentiment among the AP people following bifurcation of the state. His overt alliance with KCR, who is generally perceived as anti-Andhra, brought him disrepute among people of Andhra Pradesh. Chances are that he is seen as an ally of TRS in Andhra Pradesh, which does not augur well for his party.

 

 

 

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.

Cash-for-Vote: ACB Intensifies its Probe

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The Anti Corruption Bureau of Telangana Government has recorded the statement of Elvis Stephenson, the nominated MLA of Telangana assembly, who was offered a sum of Rs. 50 lakh in exchange of his vote in MLC elections under MLA quota last month at his residence by TDP MLA Revant Reddy.

It may be recalled that Revant Reddy was arrested and sent to judicial remand. In connection with this cash-for-vote, Stephenson-who complained to the ACB that he was being lured by TDP based on which ACB conducted a sting operation-appeared before the ACB on Wednesday.

The sources said that Stephenson mentioned Chandrababu’s name in his statement. A day before that the nominated Anglo-Indian Stephenson told at a private function that he was offered the money that he denied to take.

If buzz has to believed, Stephenson even mentioned that the total sum promised was five crore rupees out of which fifty lakh rupees were brought to his residence as an advance.

Statement Submitted to Nampally Magistrate Court:

The recorded statement of Elvis Stephenson was submitted to Third Additional  Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Nampally of Hyderabad. It was reportedly sent in a sealed cover. 

Election Commission on Chandrababu Naidu:

All possible doors to come out of this infamous cash-for-vote scam seem to be closed to TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu. It is known that he has been bringing in the name of Election Commission and questioning as to how ACB would be handling the matter that’s in the purview of EC.

Apparently, Election Commission wrote to the ACB wherein it reportedly mentioned that there was need for in-depth investigation and none would be exempted if proved guilty.

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.

Revanth Reddy’s Judicial Custody Ends Today

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With Revanth Reddy’s judicial custody coming to an end today, Telugu states are keeping their fingers crossed as to what would be happening today. Also, a section of media is highlighting that Anti Corruption Bureau, probing cash-for-vote scam, has got key details in this case—as forensic department reportedly ascertained that the voice in the audio tapes was that of Chandrababu Naidu. Also, the media has been reporting that a key central leader was also involved in the entire episode.

Earlier, Chandrababu Naidu’s son Lokesh Naidu’s name surfaced and a report was presumably sent to the Centre by the Anti Corruption Bureau on the same. It may be recalled that Revanth Reddy was red-handedly arrested by ACB two weeks ago while allegedly striking a bribe deal with nominated MLA of Telangana, Stephenson.

As the latter approached ACB earlier, the anti corruption bureau sleuths carried out a sting operation. Chandrababu Naidu, who was extremely upset with the operation, said that ACB had no right to carry out any such sting acts as election model code of conduct was underway.

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.

KCR’s Dilemma: To Dilute and Not to Dilute the Cash-for-vote Case

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Telangana chief minister K Chadrasekhar Rao is grappling with a Hamletian dilemma: to dilute the cash-for-vote (CFV) case or not, in order not to implicate his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu in the case.

The central BJP is said to have advised him against going overboard on the case and vitiating the relations between the two states.

The advice, reportedly delivered to KCR through Governor ESL Narasimhan and some informal channels, if ignored, has the potential of shattering the dream of KCR to see his daughter and Nizambad Lok Sabha member Kavita in the union cabinet.

Though there has been no love lost between Telangana BJP and KCR, the central BJP is understood to have responded positively to the friendly vibes from the TRS recently. For quite some time TRS has been sending signals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amith Shah about its intension to join the NDA. KCR’s daughter, Kavita has gone on record that her party would have no objection to join NDA cabinet as it would help the nascent state get more assistance from the centre.  “If Prime Minister Modi invites me to join the cabinet we will consider it,” she told media some time back.

Highly placed sources in BJP told this correspondent that Modi was also not disinclined to take the TRS on board.

“The only hitch is TRS connections with MIM. We want the TRS to distance itself from MIM publicly to join the NDA government. The moment TRS jettisons the MIM, it is welcome to join the NDA cabinet,” informed BJP sources said.

TRS is not ready severe it relations with MIM before GHMC elections as it needs the support of Muslim minorities in Greater Hyderabad Municiapl Corporation (GHMC) area to win the election.  GHMC is the testing ground for TRS’ real influence in the capital where Andhra settlers outnumber the Telangana people. It was proven in 2014 Assembly elections when TRS ended up as poor third.  So, a defeat in GHMC elections would weaken his grip over the capital which in course of time undermine the chances of its return in 2019.

So, the TRS doesn’t want to antagonize Muslim minorities by jettisoning MIM before GHMC polls. It is said to have conveyed to BJP leadership in Delhi that it could not afford to do it  before GHMC elections. Though Kavita’s joining the cabinet has been put off for the time being, two parties are enjoy cordial relations.

 

Now, chief minister KCR has to choose between the BJP’s advice against implicating Naidu in CFV case or pursue his anti-Naidu politics and fall from grace of Prime Minister Modi. Pursuing latter course may put the dream of getting a cabinet berth for Kavita at risk.

 

 

 

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.

Yellow Leaders’ Illogical Statements Put TDP at Stake

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TDP leaders who are reacting on cash-for-vote scam are not only making statements that are confusing and contradictory but even funny at times.

It is known how Parakala Prabhakar and Yanamala Ramakrishnudu gave contradictory statements on the issue.

Then entered Chandrababu Naidu into the scene who said that KCR’s Government will fall if he’s arrested. This line not only sounded funny but illogical. While Telangana Government or KCR didn’t send any signals of arrest, it was Chandrababu who spoke his heart out with a national news channel.

Now, Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy went an extra mile and made a sensational statement that can apparently put party and him in serious trouble.

Taking on TRS party vehemently, Somireddy alleged that TRS was obstructing the bail of Revanth Reddy. How can a political party influence the court? Doesn’t he know that the Constitution of India facilitates independent and integrated judiciary? Is he trying create doubts among the people on the functioning of courts?—these are a few questions that are being discussed among lawyers who gather at tea stalls outside courts.

Legal experts said that Somireddy can face Contempt of Court for his alleged statements that are rival on the electronic media.

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.

Revanth Reddy Shifted to ACB Headquarters

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A local court in Hyderabad granted four day custody petition filed by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to take TDP legislator from Telangana into its custody for questioning in cash for vote scam.

 

The court, on the other hand, has deferred the bail plea filed by Revanth Reddy lawyers. Revanth was shifted from Cherlapally prison to ACB headquarters today.

The court, while nodding for the custody petition, laid down a few conditions such as

  • The questioning should be done only in the morning hours, from 9 to 5
  • quThird degree shouldn’t be applied on him
  • The questioning must take place in the presence of his lawyers

Notably, Mr Revanth Reddy was arrested red handedly by the ACB slueths when he allegedly offered Rs. 50 lakhs to lure nominated MLA, a day before MLC elections in Telangana.

 

A subsequent video was released to the media, which showed the visuals and conversation of Revanth Reddy with Stephenson. While ACB submitted the video footage as a part of substantial evidence, the court directed the forensic department to check the authencity of the same.

 

Meanwhile, a section of media has been vehemently criticising ACB alleging that the telephone lines of Chandrababu Naidu have been tapped. Coming down heavily on the allegations, Telangana minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav said that their government had no need to spy on the Andhra Pradesh affairs and termed the criticisms as baseless allegations.

 

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.

Cash-for-Vote: ACB Conducts Raids

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TDP MLA from Telangana, Revanth Reddy’s ACB custody is going to end today.  The anti corruption Bureau, which asked over 800 questions yesterday, has today raided the residence of Revanth Reddy and other two accused in the case—Sebastian and Udayasimha.

The operation was reportedly carried out under the supervision of ACB deputy superintendent of police, Sunitha Reddy this morning. The sources said that operation was carried out in two phases. In the early morning raid, ACB sleuths didn’t seize any of the documents, which was confirmed to the media by Sunitha Reddy.

In the second phase of raiding, which apparently came in as a shock by Revanth Reddy’s aides and family members, ACB reportedly seized key bank documents and passport of Revanth Reddy. It is learnt that raids were done as a part of investigation.  Also, ACB seized hard disk and bank locker keys. ACB officials reportedly opened the locker of Udaya Simha.

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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