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CBI initiates probe into theft of material evidence from court linked to Andhra minister

CBI took over the case from police after High Court's order. HC directed CBI to conduct a proper investigation and submit the charge sheet at the earliest.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Nellore Published on: December 14, 2022 12:15 IST
CBI took over the case from police
Image Source : PTI CBI took over the case from police

The CBI began probing an alleged theft of case property (material evidence) from a local court in Nellore, official said on Wednesday.

The stolen materials were relating to a matter in which Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister Kakani Govardhan Reddy is the prime accused, he added.

The central probe agency took over the theft FIR registered by China Bazar Police station, Nellore against Syed Hayath and Shaik Kahaja Rasool on the directions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court last month.
A bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice DVSS Somayajulu had handed over the case to the CBI with directions to conduct a proper investigation and submit the charge sheet at the earliest, they said.
The bench passed the order while disposing of a suo motu (taken up on its own) public interest litigation petition, based on a report filed by the Principal District Judge, Nellore.

The then Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy of the TDP had filed a criminal case of forgery and fabricating documents, besides criminal defamation, against YSRC's Govardhan Reddy, then an MLA from Sarvepalli Assembly constituency.

The local police had filed the charge sheet before the court and trial had to begin in May.
Five days after Govardhan Reddy was sworn-in as a minister, the thieves broke into the court of fourth additional judicial magistrate of first class in Nellore on the intervening night of April 13-14.

They decamped with a bag containing crucial evidence related to the case including laptop, mobile phones and several documents related to the criminal case of 2016 filed against Govardhan Reddy and three others by Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy.

The bag was later found dumped in a culvert but with the crucial documents and other material evidence were  missing.

The principal district judge, who had conducted a preliminary inquiry in April, reported to the high court that the four police personnel on guard failed in their duty.

"It is further stated that the police concerned did not collect footprints and fingerprints on the main door which was broken open by miscreants and they did not even call dog squad to the scene of crime.
Based on the above report, the Principal District opined, prima facie, that truth may come into light only if investigation is handed over to an independent agency," the high court had noted.

The judges also noted that the Supreme Court has directed fast-tracking of cases (against elected public representatives) and monitoring by high courts.

When such importance is accorded to criminal cases against MLAs and MPs, the court concerned at Nellore as well as the state machinery, including the law enforcing agency, should have taken due care and caution to secure the case property, it had said.

Otherwise, in the absence of case property, being produced and proved in the court, the trial against MLAs and MPs may fail for lack of evidence, the high court bench said.

"It is for this reason the matter assumes importance. If timely and proper steps are not taken to book the culprits, people at large may lose faith in the judicial process. It is necessary to reach to the root of the incident as to who are involved in theft of case property, wherein influential people are accused," Chief Justice Mishra and Justice Somayajulu had observed.

(With PTI input)

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