Why Noise About Voice?

  • The ‘Note for Vote’ case takes curious turns

(Primepost Bureau)

Hyderabad: Are there any doubts that the voice on the tape in ‘Note for Vote’ case belongs to AP Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu? Is it necessary to test the tape in a lab? The general public and the political class know only too well that the voice was that of Naidu. As K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), son of Telangana State Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) and a Minister for Municipal Affairs famously remarked that ‘only Naidu can speak that kind of bad English’.

Supporters of Naidu in the media have been questioning the power of ACB court to order reinvestigation of the case which is with the High Court. ‘Even if the voice belonged to Naidu, what is wrong? He was speaking in general terms with an MLA’ argued Andhra Jyothy daily. It quoted legal experts to say that the case would not stand the scrutiny of law.  The noise over the voice is truly uncalled for. Whether there was a sort of agreement between KCR and Naidu is a moot point. It is fact that from the time the tapes were shown by the TV channels in which TDP MLA Revanth Reddy was seen offering currency notes to nominated MLA in Telangana Assembly Elvis Stephenson, Naidu left the TDP in Telangana and Hyderabad to KCR and moved swiftly to Vijayawada to run his business as AP Chief Minister. It was very well known that the whole sting operation was orchestrated by the Intelligence wing of TS police.  The TS government left the matters there except challenging the High Court order, squashing the FIR and declaring Mathaiah Jerusalem innocent, in Supreme Court which is yet to admit the petition filed by ACB of TS. Even on Wednesday, the TS ACB said it is probing the roles of all the persons mentioned in the episode. The ACB special court had, on 29 August 2016, taken cognizance of the preliminary chargesheet filed by the ACB on July 28. The special court on Wednesday issued summons to the accused, Revanth Reddy, TDP MLA, Bishop Harry Sabastian and Udaysimha asking them to appear before the court on September 29. Summons have not been issued for the other accused, TDP MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah since the ACB is yet to file a chargesheet against the MLA. Mathaiah was also not issued any summons as the High Court had already squashed the case against him.

The allegation was that the accused had paid Rs 50 lakh to Anglo Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson (as part of Rs 5 crore bribe money) to vote for the TDP MLC candidates in election. The ACB had in a clandestine manner released to the TV channels tapes showing Naidu speaking to Stephenson, MLA. The voice was recorded by the MLA and it was not phone tapping as alleged by Naidu and his votaries.

Warrant against Stephenson

The High Court on Wednesday issued a bailable warrant in a contempt of court case against nominated MLA Stephenson who happens to be the complainant in the ‘Note for Vote’ case. After noting that the alleged contemnor failed to appear before the court after filing the complaint in spite of notices, Justice B Siva Shankar Rao has ordered the City Police Commissioner to execute the warrant. The MLA was directed to be present in the court on September 30 and to execute a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh.

Raj Bhavan in news

Raj Bhavan was dragged in to the controversy when Union Minister of State Sujana Chowdary met Governor ESL Narasimhan soon after the former’s meeting with BJP Chief Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi. Botcha Satyanarayana of the YSRCP had accused that Raj Bhavan was used for political purposes and demanded that the Governor’s office should make all that transpired between the Governor and the Union Minister public to dispel the doubts that Raj Bhavan is becoming ‘Rajee Bhavan’ meaning that the gubernatorial office was being used to strike deals between the chief ministers of AP and TS.  Former PCC chief Botcha also questioned the motives of KCR in not proceeding with the case. He asked why the ACB had taken more than one year to file a charge sheet. He said he strongly suspected that a deal between both the CMs had been struck as a result of which the AP Chief Minister Naidu had not been questioning the TS CM about the proposed irrigation projects on River Godavari.

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