Supreme Court dismisses Andhra Pradesh government’s appeal against bail to Chandrababu Naidu

Court goes by parity, notes that it had dismissed an appeal against another accused in the same case last year

January 29, 2024 09:51 pm | Updated 10:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Supreme Court on January 29 refused to intervene in the Andhra Pradesh High Court decision to grant bail to TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road scam case.

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, with an eye on parity, noted that an appeal against another accused in the same case was dismissed by the court in 2023. Citing that order, the court then dismissed the plea of the State government in which it had challenged the High Court order of January 10 giving relief to Mr. Naidu.

The State government, represented by advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki, in its appeal had argued that the High Court had unnecessarily, in a bail matter, “delved deep into facts of the case and rendered findings that were not only factually incorrect but are also likely to prejudice the court below during the trial”.

‘Alignment manipulated’

The State said the case involved the “elaborate scheme set up by Mr. Naidu, a former Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh, and the second accused who was the State Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development between 2014-2019”.

It argued that contracts for preparation of the master plan for the capital city and capital region, which included the Inner Ring Road (IRR) in the capital region of Andhra Pradesh, were “awarded to a foreign private entity on a nomination basis, fraudulently making it appear that it was based on a government-to-government memorandum of understanding”.

“The alignment of the IRR was manipulated in such a way that certain close associates of the respondent (Naidu) received windfall pecuniary gains, on a quid pro quo basis and at the expense of the State exchequer with the respondent being the ultimate beneficiary,” the appeal said.

The State had argued that the actions of the accused persons “very evidently amounted to corruption, as well as offences such as cheating and criminal breach of trust by public servants”.

The prosecution argued in the Supreme Court that Mr. Naidu was the “primary architect of the entire scam, and is the ultimate beneficiary of all the windfall gains being made by parties as a result of his manipulation of the alignment of the IRR”.

“Being the former Chief Minister, he is taking steps to derail the investigation,” the criminal appeal in the Supreme Court said.

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