Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to list a plea by former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for quashing a First Information Report (FIR) registered against him in the skill development scam case on October 3, the next working day for the apex court after back-to-back holidays and the weekend.
Earlier in the day, Justice S.V.N. Bhatti, the Associate Judge on the Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, recused from hearing the case. The case had been listed for hearing before this Bench on Wednesday.
As soon as the case was called, Justice Khanna conveyed Justice Bhatti’s reservations about hearing the case to senior advocates Harish Salve and Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for Mr. Naidu.
The petition, filed through advocate Guntur Pramod Kumar, said the FIR was “an orchestrated campaign of regime revenge to derail the largest Opposition in the State”.
“The petitioner (Mr.. Naidu) was suddenly named in the FIR registered 21 months ago, arrested in an illegal manner and deprived of his liberty, motivated only by political reasons. Even though there is no material against him, the petitioner is being made to suffer an illegal and motivated investigation in clear violation of his fundamental rights,” the special leave petition said.
The High Court had declined to quash the criminal cases filed against Mr. Naidu. It had also refused to set aside the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) court’s order to remand him.
The High Court, in its September 22 order, said the probe agency had initiated criminal action against Mr. Naidu after conducting extensive examination of witnesses and collection of documentary evidence following the registration of the crime in 2021. The investigation was at its final stage, the High Court had said.
The case involves alleged misappropriations made in the process of establishment of skill development institutions by Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation in collaboration with private companies.