With BJP General Secretary B.L. Santhosh and two others failing to appear before the Telangana Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing MLAs’ poaching case despite summons, the SIT approached the Telangana High Court on Tuesday.
The SIT said that Santhosh was served with a notice through the Delhi Police but he did not appear in court. The court was informed that the top BJP official is refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
As the investigation is being overseen by a single judge bench of the High Court, the SIT informed the court of its progress.
Tushar Vellapally, President of Kerala’s Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), and Jaggu Swami have also failed to appear before the SIT, which has issued a lookout notice for them.
Last week, the SIT served notices on the trio and Bhusarapu Srinivas, a lawyer from Karimnagar, summoning them to appear for questioning in Hyderabad on November 21.
Only Srinivas, a relative of Telangana BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar, appeared before the investigation team.
On Tuesday, Srinivas appeared before SIT officials for the second day in a row. He was interrogated for about seven hours.
Srinivas allegedly paid for Simhayaji’s flight expenses, who was one of three people arrested in connection with an alleged attempt to buy four Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLAs (TRS).
He did, however, tell reporters that he booked the flight for Simhayaji out of respect. He denied any ties to the BJP or the MLAs’ poaching case.
On November 19, the Telangana High Court denied the BJP state unit’s request to stay the notice issued to Santhosh.
However, Justice B. Viajaysen Reddy stated unequivocally that Santosh should not be arrested because the SIT had already served him with a notice under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code. The judge stated that Santhosh should not be arrested and instructed him to follow the terms of the SIT notice.
The High Court heard an application filed by the Telangana government on the same day, requesting that the Delhi Police Commissioner cooperate with the SIT in serving notice on Santhosh. The judge ordered that the notice be served on the top BJP official as soon as possible.
He authorized SIT to serve notice to Santhosh via e-mail or WhatsApp to the relevant Delhi Police officer.
Santhosh’s name was mentioned in a conversation between three alleged BJP agents who were arrested last month while attempting to entice four TRS MLAs to join the BJP with a large sum of money.
The SIT also served notices for questioning on Kerala doctor Jaggu Swami and BDJS President Vellapally.
All four were summoned for questioning on the same day for their alleged ties to the three accused arrested in the case last month.
Jaggu Kottilil, also known as Jaggu Swami, works at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, while Vellapally is the leader of the BDJS, a BJP ally in Kerala.
The name Vellapally, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, came up in the conversation the three accused had with the TRS MLAs.
Ramachandra Bharati, the main accused, allegedly admitted that Jaggu Swami was linked to the cash promised to TRS MLAs as an inducement.
Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji, and Nandakumar were apprehended by Cyberabad police from a farmhouse in Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26 while allegedly attempting to lure four TRS MLAs with large sums of money.
The raid was carried out by Cyberabad police following a tip from Pilot Rohit Reddy, one of the MLAs. He claimed that the accused offered him Rs 100 crore and Rs 50 crore to three others.
The accused were booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
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