Telangana moves SC against HC order for CBI probe into BRS MLAs poaching case

The Telangana government on Tuesday sought an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on its appeal challenging the high court’s order for a CBI probe into alleged attempts to poach Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLAs.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud took note of the submissions of senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared in the matter for the Telangana government, that there was an FIR related to “destabilising the state government”.

Dave said a single-judge bench of the high court ordered a CBI probe and a larger bench upheld it, saying the state government’s appeal was not maintainable.

“There is a grave urgency. If the CBI enters the investigation, everything will fail,” the senior lawyer added.

The bench, also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, asked Dave to mention the plea again on Wednesday.

“We will list the matter. Mention it tomorrow morning…. Even without mentioning, it will come up next week,” the CJI said.

On Monday, a division bench of the Telangana High Court dismissed the state government’s appeal against the single-judge order to transfer the probe in the case of alleged attempts to poach four BRS MLAs from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The larger bench had confirmed the orders passed by the single judge and dismissed the batch of writ appeals filed by the government and others on the ground of maintainability.

On December 26, 2022, the single judge had ordered the transfer of the probe in the case to the CBI.

The high court had also quashed the government order to constitute the SIT and the investigation carried out by it as also the probe conducted by an assistant commissioner of police in the initial stages.

After this, the state government and others filed the writ appeals against the single-judge order.

However, the division bench of the high court upheld the orders passed by the single judge and dismissed the appeals. It also refused to stay its order when the state’s counsel requested for its suspension to enable it to approach the Supreme Court.

The order paved the way for the CBI to proceed with its investigation. The federal agency has already issued letters to the Telangana chief secretary, requesting him to furnish all relevant material in the case.

Three people — Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Nandu Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy — were named as accused (A1 to A3) in the case after an FIR was lodged on a complaint from BRS MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy, one of the four legislators, against them on October 26, 2022.

The three accused were arrested while they were allegedly trying to lure the four MLAs of the ruling BRS in the southern state to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Subsequently, they were granted bail by the high court.

According to a copy of the FIR, Reddy alleged that the accused offered him Rs 100 crore and in return, he had to part ways with the TRS (now BRS) and contest the next Telangana Assembly election as a BJP candidate.

The accused had allegedly asked Reddy to bring more BRS MLAs by offering them Rs 50 crore each to join the BJP.

The Telangana government had, on November 9 last year, ordered the setting up of the seven-member SIT to probe the alleged attempts to poach the MLAs.

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