The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a plea filed by former chief minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR against him in connection with an alleged scam in the Skill Development Corporation on Tuesday. A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi will take up the plea for hearing today (October 3).
Naidu was arrested in the alleged scam case on September 9. His judicial remand will end on October 5.
Earlier on September 27, the top court had said it would not restrain the trial court from dealing with a plea seeking police custody of Naidu as it announced that a new bench will hear his petition for quashing the FIR in the alleged Rs 371 crore scam in the state.
Initially, the plea came up before the designated bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, but the latter recused himself from hearing the matter on Wednesday.
Nadidu's advocate Siddharth Luthra then rushed to the bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud for an urgent hearing on TDP chief’s plea in view of the holidays during the week.
The CJI Chandrachud-led bench said that a new bench will hear Naidu's plea. The top court, which closed on September 28, will resume functioning on October 3.
What is Skill Development Corporation scam?
73-year-old former CM was arrested for allegedly misappropriating funds from the Skill Development Corporation in 2015. The alleged scam caused a purported loss of Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer. The CID in its remand report alleged Naidu “indulged in a criminal conspiracy with the intention of fraudulent misappropriation or otherwise conversion of government funds for his own use, disposal of property which was under the control of a public servant, besides engaging in cheating, forging documents and destroying evidence”.
Naidu, the Telugu Desam Party chief, had moved the top court on September 23, challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR against him in connection with the alleged scam. The high court had rejected his plea last Friday.
On September 25, the top court asked Naidu’s lawyer to mention his petition for urgent listing on Tuesday.
While dismissing his petition for quashing the FIR, the high court had noted it was devoid of merit and said the court was not inclined to interfere at this stage when the investigation was still going on.
The high court had observed that police have the statutory right and duty under the relevant provisions of the CrPC to investigate a cognisable offence. It had also said the power of quashing an FIR should be exercised sparingly with circumspection.
Noting that criminal proceedings ought not to be scuttled at the initial stage, the high court had said quashing an FIR should be an exception rather than the rule.
The former AP CM said in his plea the video recording of his questioning by the CID was leaked to media channels “associated with the state administration” with a “mala fide” intention to defame and humiliate him,
“To malign the Petitioner’s image further, the CID Chief of Andhra Pradesh & its lawyer/s gave press conference/s at different places making false allegations with the mala fide intent to defame the Petitioner and humiliate him in the eyes of the public,” Naidu's petition said.
The TDP has termed the arrest of its leader as a 'political vendetta" by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
(With PTI inputs)