The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Telangana on Saturday began interrogating Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA A. Revanth Reddy and two others in cash-for-vote scam.
ACB sleuths took custody of the legislator and his two aides Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha from Cherlapally Jail.
While Revanth Reddy was taken to an undisclosed location for questioning, two others were brought to ACB headquarters.
The MLA’s lawyers staged a protest at ACB office, demanding information about his whereabouts. Pramod Reddy, one of the lawyers, alleged that ACB’s action was violation of court orders.
A city court on Friday had sent the accused to ACB custody for four days. The court directed the agency to question them in the presence of their lawyers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Revanth Reddy, a member of Telangana legislative assembly, was arrested by the ACB when he was handing over Rs.50 lakh to nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson on May 31 to make him vote for TDP-BJP candidate in Telangana legislative council elections. The ACB, which had laid the trap on a complaint by Stephenson, also arrested two aides of the TDP leader.
A magistrate on June 1 sent the accused to judicial custody for 14 days.
The ACB is trying to elicit information from Revanth about the source of money and also about remaining Rs.4.5 crore he had promised as part of Rs.5 crore deal. He is also likely to be questioned about the complicity of other political leaders he mentioned during the conversation with the nominated MLA.
The questioning assumed significance in the light of a statement by Telangana Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy that there is a proof that TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu spoke to the nominated MLA and some other legislators of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) over phone.
TRS leaders have alleged that Naidu is the mastermind in the scam and demanded that he be made the prime accused in the case.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, accompanied by ACB Director General A. K. Khan on Friday called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, triggering speculations about the state government’s plan to seek Naidu’s prosecution.
Narasimhan is the governor for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The TDP government of Andhra Pradesh has hit back with Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinnarajappa daring TRS government to book Naidu and make the recording of telephone conversation public. He also said they would complaint to the central government about phone tapping of Naidu and other TDP leaders.
Naidu has also stated that he will not be cowed down by the attempts of TRS to defame him.