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.
In an interesting turn of events, Telangana High Court has directed that the Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the MLA poaching case will be independent and report the progress of the case to the single-bench judge while rejecting the BJP’s plea to hand over the case to the CBI.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ujwal Bhuyan directed the SIT formed by an order of the state government and headed by Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad CV Anand to not brief anyone in the executive about the progress of the investigation. The SIT will only report to the single-bench judge in a sealed envelope and has been directed to not leak any information to the media.
It further directed the SIT to report to the court about the progress of the investigation on 29 November.
The poaching case came to light on 26 October and on the very next day, the BJP moved the court with the plea that the case should be handed over to the CBI or any impartial agency. It also accused the TRS government of trying to tarnish its reputation. The single-bench had given a stay order on investigations and lifted it on 8 November after the bypoll at Munugode was concluded.
The state government formed a seven-member SIT headed by CP the next day. But on 3 November chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao met the media and showed video footage as evidence that BJP was trying to poach his MLAs after police submitted all material to the court. Recently, TRS leaders even taunted the BJP for trying to stop investigations saying that it was evident the party’s bigwigs were involved in the case.
The state BJP expressed satisfaction over today’s direction from the court. “Akin to BJP’s stand Hon’ble Chief Justice of Telangana High Court issued order to conduct SIT investigation under supervision of a sitting judge of high court on Moinabad farmhouse case of 4 TRS MLAs. We have faith in court as now investigation will be done transparently,” said BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar.
He said that the court had expressed displeasure over the chief minister’s press conference on the matter. “TRS government is conspiring to damage the image of BJP evident from KCR’s (K Chandrasekhar Rao) statements,” he alleged.
He welcomed the court’s order not to disclose progress of SIT investigation and to submit report to the single judge in sealed cover by 29 November.
“We are confident the facts will come to light, schemers behind this farmhouse drama will be revealed and culprit will be punished accordingly,” asserted Bandi Sanjay.