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Skill Development Corporation scam: SC to hear TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu’s plea tomorrow

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NEW DELHI, Oct 1: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday a plea of TDP leader N
Chandrababu Naidu challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order dismissing his petition for
quashing the FIR against him in connection with an alleged scam in the Skill Development
Corporation.
A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi will take up the plea for hearing on October
3.
On September 27, the top court had said it would not restrain the trial court from dealing with a plea
seeking police custody of Naidu as it announced that a new bench will hear his petition for quashing
the FIR in the alleged Rs 371 crore scam in the state.
The plea by Naidu, who was arrested in the case on September 9, had come up before two benches
in the top court but without any effective hearing.
Initially, it came up before the designated bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, but the
latter recused himself from hearing the matter on Wednesday.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the TDP leader, then rushed to the bench headed
by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud for an urgent hearing on Naidu’s plea in view of the holidays during
the week.
The CJI Chandrachud-led bench said that a new bench will hear Naidu’s plea.
The top court, which closed on September 28, will resume functioning on October 3.
Naidu, 73, was arrested for allegedly misappropriating funds from the Skill Development Corporation
when he was the chief minister in 2015, causing a purported loss of Rs 371 crore to the state
exchequer. His judicial remand has been extended by the trial court till October 5.
The CID in its remand report alleged Naidu “indulged in a criminal conspiracy with the intention of
fraudulent misappropriation or otherwise conversion of government funds for his own use, disposal
of property which was under the control of a public servant, besides engaging in cheating, forging
documents and destroying evidence”.
Naidu, the Telugu Desam Party chief, had moved the top court on September 23, challenging the
Andhra Pradesh High Court order dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR against him in
connection with the alleged scam. The high court had rejected his plea last Friday.
On September 25, the top court asked Naidu’s lawyer to mention his petition for urgent listing on
Tuesday.
While dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR, the high court had noted it was devoid of merit
and said the court was not inclined to interfere at this stage when the investigation was still going
on.
The high court had observed that police have the statutory right and duty under the relevant
provisions of the CrPC to investigate a cognisable offence.
It had also said the power of quashing an FIR should be exercised sparingly with circumspection.
Noting that criminal proceedings ought not to be scuttled at the initial stage, the high court had said
quashing an FIR should be an exception rather than the rule.
The former AP CM said in his plea the video recording of his questioning by the CID was leaked to
media channels “associated with the state administration” with a “mala fide” intention to defame
and humiliate him,
“To malign the Petitioner’s image further, the CID Chief of Andhra Pradesh & its lawyer/s gave press
conference/s at different places making false allegations with the mala fide intent to defame the
Petitioner and humiliate him in the eyes of the public,” Naidu’s petition said.
The TDP has termed the arrest of its leader as a ‘political vendetta” by the Jagan Mohan Reddy
government. (PTI)

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