CBI cannot probe BRS MLAs’ poaching case, Centre controls it: Telangana tells SC

The Telangana Police criticised the transfer of the investigation of the BRS MLAs’ poaching case to the CBI and expressed apprehensions over the fairness of the probe

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NEW DELHI: The Telangana Police on Friday criticised the transfer of the investigation of the BRS MLAs’ poaching case to the Central Bureau of Investigation and expressed apprehensions over the fairness of the probe since “the Centre controls the CBI.”

Appearing for the Telangana Police, senior advocate Dushyant Dave told the Supreme Court that the allegations were against the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Live Law report stated. Transferring the matter to the central agency will not serve the ends of justice as ‘the Central Government controls the CBI’, he claimed.

“How can I go to the CBI? The allegations are against the BJP in the FIR. What is the point of sending us to (the) CBI? Central Government controls (the) CBI,” Dave was quoted as saying before a Supreme Court bench.

The bench consisting of Justice B R Gavai and Justice Manoj Misra posted the matter to February 27, 2023 for further hearing while reportedly refusing to intervene and grant a stay on the Telangana High Court’s order transferring the case investigation from the State Government-instituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) to the CBI.

A single judge of the Telangana High Court has earlier transferred the investigation into the sensational BRS MLAs’ poaching case to the CBI while disbanding the SIT that was actively investigating the case till then.

During Friday’s arguments before the Supreme Court, Dushyant Dave said, “We have not been able to move an inch forward. The charges are so serious that it would strike at the foundation of democracy,” according to the Live Law report.

Senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing on behalf of the BJP, argued that the FIR over the alleged poaching of the BRS MLAs was filed only after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) released a video while making a statement to the media on the issue.

Dushyant Dave, however, rebuffed the claim that there was a possibility of bias just because the Chief Minister played the video in the press conference. It cannot also be said that the press conference affected the investigation.

“This is the norm of the day if you open any television in the evening. What does (the) CBI, ED do against any person in the opposition? They release evidence to media houses: it is discussed. Don’t say there is (a) different standard for opposition and the ruling party. I beg to differ on that,” he said.

The Telangana SIT began investigating the sensational case based on a complaint filed with the Hyderabad police by BRS Tandur MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy. According to his complaint, he, along with three other BRS MLAs were offered heavy enticements including crores of rupees in cash to resign from the BRS and create a split within the party leading to the fall of its government.

Three middlemen who claimed their proximity to the leaders in Delhi – Ramachandra Bharathi, Simhayaji and Nandu Kumar – were arrested before they were released as ordered by the Telangana High Court.

With the High Court dissolving the SIT and transferring the investigation of the case to the CBI, the Telangana Police approached the Supreme Court for relief.

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