Andhra Pradesh HC reserves verdict on ex-CM Naidu's Skill Development Corp scam case
Former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu faces judgment over alleged fund misuse, verdict anticipated by 20 September
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday, 19 September reserved orders on a petition filed by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu seeking to quash an FIR filed against him in the Skill Development Corporation scam case. The judgment is expected to be pronounced in two days.
The court heard arguments from the legal counsels of Naidu and the AP Crime Investigation Department.
Naidu was represented by senior counsels Harish Salve, who joined virtually, and Siddarth Luthra. They argued that the CID did not obtain prior permission from the Governor as is mandatory for conducting any inquiry or investigation into an offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant.
However, Mukul Rohatgi, who argued for the CID joining virtually from Delhi, argued that Section 17 (A) of Prevention of Corruption Act is not applicable to the TDP supremo. He said an intensive investigation is required in the case. He was also assisted by Ranjit Kumar and Additional Advocate General P Sudhakar Reddy.
He alleged there was an embezzlement of government funds which should be taken seriously.
Naidu's lawyers contended there was no case made out against him as the Skill Development Corporation scam was allegedly a transaction between two private entities, one of which entered into a tripartite agreement.
"Their argument was based on the lack of sanction under 17 (A) PC (Prevention of Corruption) Act, which was repelled by our (CID) side. We said that there is definitely a prima facie case made out because all the material is there on record," Special Public Prosecutor Y N Vivekananda, who is part of AP CID’s legal team, told PTI.
Vivekananda noted the CID's legal team argued that the former chief minister's prosecution is maintainable and Section 17 (A) of the PC Act cannot be applied as the High Court has already considered it twice, and also the Kerala High Court in another judgment.
So, he reasoned that for an incident which took place prior to the amendment of this provision in law, which requires prior sanction, Section 17 (A) of PC Act cannot be applied.
Vivekananda observed that Section 17 (A) of the PC Act was inserted by an amendment in 2018, it is not applicable in this case as the alleged crime took place somewhere between 2015 and 2016.
Naidu's lawyers, however, asserted prior sanction ought to have been taken as the FIR in the Skill Development Corporation scam case was registered in 2021.
Vivekananda also said the judgment in the petition seeking to quash the FIR is expected within two days.
"We are expecting the order by tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 September ) or at the most by day after tomorrow (Thursday, 21 September)," Vivekananda added.
Chandrababu Naidu was arrested on 9 September , in connection with a case involving misappropriation of funds from the Skill Development Corporation, leading to an alleged loss of over Rs 300 crore to the state government.
He is currently lodged in the Rajamahendravaram central prison.
Published: 20 Sep 2023, 11:04 AM