Vanam Venkateshwar Rao was a Congress candidate who defeated the BRS candidate Jalagam Venkat Rao in 2018 Assembly elections but soon defected to the BRS.
Telangana High Court, on Saturday, passed an interim order restraining the special investigating team (SIT), formed to go into the MLA poaching case, from arresting BJP national general secretary BL Santosh but at the same time directed him (Santosh) to cooperate in the investigation.
The single bench judge heard a petition filed by BJP challenging the SIT notice issued to BL Santosh asking him to appear before it at 10:30 am on 21 November in connection with the case.
The SIT had also sent a notice to Srinivas, an advocate to appear before it. Both Santosh and Srinivas were told to bring their mobile phones along and the same phone number was mentioned in both notices.
The petition filed by BJP’s state general secretary G Premendar Reddy yesterday stated that the notices issued by the SIT were “arbitrary and illegal” and urged the court to grant a stay.
The petitioner accused the SIT of trying to extract the names of individuals from the accused, though they are no way connected with the case, in order to forcibly implicate them in the poaching case. It also pointed out that the investigating officer issued the notices without prior permission though the investigations were being monitored by the court.
The notices also were leaked to the media alleging that “the notices of the SIT are without any basis and just to harass, humiliate and make and to tarnish the image of the Petitioner and its functionaries,” read the petition submitted by BJP.
Hearing the petition, the single bench judge Justice B Vijaysen Reddy ordered that the SIT should not make any arrest or initiate coercive action against Santosh. The court ordered Delhi police to help SIT in serving notices to BL Santosh.
The SIT notice had mentioned only his Bengaluru address. The order has brought only partial relief to the BJP leader as he will have to appear before the SIT since the judge did not give any stay on the notice issued by it.
It may be mentioned here that in the leaked audio clips containing the purported conversation between the accused Ramchandra Bharti and TRS MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy the former mentioned BL Santosh several times to convince that the TRS legislators that the BJP’s top brass was on board in the attempt to poach MLAs before Munugode poll and eventually topple the government under K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Meanwhile, the TRS took a jibe at the BJP for again knocking the doors of the High Court and stop the inquiry into the poaching case.