Alleging Political Vendetta, Chandrababu Naidu Seeks Release from Judicial Custody and Quashing of FIR
The Andhra Pradesh High Court resumed hearing a petition filed by former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu seeking the quashing of his judicial remand in the alleged Skill Development Corporation scam. The hearing, conducted in a hybrid model, began before noon, with Harish Salve virtually presenting arguments on behalf of Naidu. Salve argued that the case against Naidu is politically motivated with an eye on the upcoming elections, focusing on Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
During the previous hearing, Siddharth Luthra had represented Naidu and argued that his arrest was illegal. The court had allowed the Crime Investigation Department (CID) time to file a counter to the quash petition and adjourned the hearing to September 19. The CID had also sought custody of Naidu, who is currently in Rajahmundry Central Jail, but the court had stayed the hearing on this matter.
Naidu, the leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), alleges that he is being politically targeted by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government and has sought orders to set aside his judicial custody and quash the FIR registered by the CID. Naidu was arrested by the CID on September 9 in connection with the alleged fraud related to the establishment of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in Andhra Pradesh during his tenure as chief minister. The CID claims that the fraud caused a loss of Rs 371 crore to the state government, with funds being diverted to shell companies through fake invoices. The FIR was based on a complaint from YSRCP MLA A. Rama Krishna Reddy, who alleged irregularities in land acquisition and other aspects of the development of the state capital, Amravati, during Naidu’s tenure.