TRS MLAs' poaching case: SIT issues lookout notice against BL Santosh, others

The SIT, probing the case of alleged attempt to poach four TRS MLAs, has issued a lookout notice against three persons

TRS MLAs poaching case: SIT issues lookout notice against BL Santosh, others

HYDERABAD: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the sensational case of alleged attempt to poach four TRS MLAs, has issued a lookout notice against three persons for failing to appear before it for questioning. The move, which adds a new twist, came after the three – BJP national secretary BL Santosh, Tushar who is affiliated with the national party and Jagguswami – did not turn up before the SIT on Monday, in alleged defiance of the notices served on them.

On Monday, Srinivas, an advocate and a rumoured close aide of BJP Telangana President Bandi Sanjay Kumar, was questioned by the SIT for eight hours in Hyderabad. He was expected to be grilled on Tuesday also as the SIT intends to get to the bottom of the sensational scandal that caused tremors in the political circles across the country.

On Monday, it was reported that the SIT, following the absence of BL Santosh, Tushar and Jagguswami, was eliciting legal opinion on the way forward. The investigating team appeared to have decided to issue the lookout notices to the three, based on the view of legal experts.

It is also reported that Jagguswami remained inaccessible when members of the SIT went to his home state Kerala to serve the notice for questioning. Unable to find Jagguswami, the SIT officials reportedly handed over the notice to the representatives of an ashram, allegedly, run by Jagguswami. Treating him as absconding, the SIT has issued the lookout notice.

BL Satosh evading SIT questioning?

The SIT lookout notices follow a week of swift developments wherein frantic efforts were made to stonewall and pre-empt the SIT investigation into the sensational case. The BJP had moved the Telangana High Court seeking a stay on the SIT notices to BL Santosh and others, summoning them for questioning.

However, in a jolt to its hopes, the High Court dismissed the prayer to this effect and maintained that the SIT could proceed with its investigation into the case. It also refused to make it mandatory for the SIT to seek prior permission of a High Court single judge at every stage of its investigation. The High Court advised the Delhi police to cooperate with the SIT in serving notices on BL Santosh and others with regard to the case.

In yet another development on Monday, the Supreme Court also refused to entertain a bail petition of the accused in the case – Ramachandra Bharathi alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nanda Kumar. Dismissing their bail petition, the apex court directed them to abide by the orders of the Telangana High Court in this regard.

The three were detained during a Cyberabad Police operation at a farmhouse in Hyderabad on October 26 while they were allegedly trying to lure four TRS MLAs to break away from the party and join the BJP. The TRS and its supremo K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) have alleged that the deal brokers were actually attempting to split the TRS and bring down its government in the state.

The three accused were subsequently arrested and sent to judicial remand. With a court later granting custody, the SIT has questioned them and even collected their voice samples to ascertain their alleged involvement in the case. A few audio and video clips of their conversation allegedly brokering a deal with TRS MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy were made public.

KCR has recently announced that the damning evidence had been forwarded to all judges, key officials, constitutional agencies and leaders of political parties to expose the alleged poaching spree being resorted to by the BJP to bring down democratically-elected governments in the country.

In the audio and video clips, the deal brokers made frequent references to BL Santosh, Tushar and Jagguswami while claiming that they were working at the behest of some influential leaders in Delhi.

Now that the SIT has decided to not take kindly to the absence of BL Santosh, Tushar and Jagguswami, it would be interesting to see what options are left with the latter in their speculated attempt to evade the case and for how long.

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