The Supreme Court on November 9 said it is likely to pronounce judgment on a plea by former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to quash criminal proceedings against him in the skill development ‘scam’ case after the Deepavali vacations and adjourned his separate petition for anticipatory bail in the FiberNet ‘scam’ case.
A Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi had reserved the judgment in the skill development case on October 17.
On Thursday, when the FiberNet case was taken up, the judges said the verdict in the other case may be pronounced post the court holiday for Deepavali between November 13 and November 18.
Justice Bose told senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, for Mr. Naidu, to wait for the judgment before hearing began in the FiberNet case. The Bench said there were certain “overlapping issues” in both cases.
The court had in October drawn an oral assurance from the State to not arrest Mr. Naidu in the FiberNet case.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi informed the apex court that Mr. Naidu has already got an interim four-week bail in the skill development case on October 30.
Mr. Luthra had argued that the State’s sudden urge to arrest Mr. Naidu in the FiberNet case laid bare the actual intent of “regime revenge” against his client. The FiberNet case involved allegations of tender manipulation against Mr. Naidu for alloting work in the first phase of the Andhra Pradesh FiberNet Project of ₹330 crore to a favoured company, causing loss to the public exchequer.
The State claimed that Mr. Naidu used his “influence to revoke the blacklisting on M/s Terasoftware and got the contract awarded to the company by silencing the protests from other bidders”.
In both skill development and FiberNet cases, Mr. Luthra has invoked that Mr. Naidu had immunity under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the State did not get prior sanction before investigating him.