TRS MLAs' poaching case: Telangana HC asks SIT to send email notice to B L Santhosh

The Telangana High Court directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to serve fresh notice on BJP National Secretary B L Santhosh

B L Santhosh

HYDERABAD: Adding yet another twist to the TRS MLAs' poaching case, the Telangana High Court on Wednesday directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to serve fresh notice on BJP National Secretary B L Santhosh. The High Court asked the SIT to serve the notice through email under Section 41A of the CrPC in response to the Telangana Government's claim that the BJP leader was willfully evading questioning by the SIT by avoiding its summons.

The High Court gave its ruling to this effect while hearing arguments on a writ petition filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party in connection with the case. The BJP, in its petition filed by its Telangana leader Gujjula Premender Reddy, sought the transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), among a host of pleas. After hearing arguments by the Advocate General on behalf of the Telangana Government and the petitioner's counsel, the High Court adjourned further hearing on the writ petition to November 30, 2022.

Earlier in the day, the High Court asked the Advocate General to submit the copy of the recent Supreme Court order over a bail petition filed by Ramachandra Bharathi, one of the accused in the case. The apex court, while refusing to grant bail to the accused, has directed the petitioner to abide by the directions of the Telangana High Court.

After studying the Supreme Court order, the High Court gave directions to the SIT to serve fresh notices on B L Santhosh, who is suspected of his involvement in the alleged attempt to bribe four TRS MLAs to engineer a split in the state ruling party.

Intense arguments were witnessed during the course of the High Court hearing on the BJP petition on Wednesday. In the morning, Telangana Advocate General, arguing on behalf of the State Government, claimed that B L Santhosh had been willfully evading the questioning by avoiding summons (notice) of the SIT.

The TRS government had been alleging that B L Santhosh had chatted with the three accused arrested in the case through Whatsapp. Echoing a similar view, the Advocate General told the High Court that the BJP National Secretary's questioning was key to unravelling the truth in the case.

The High Court too repeatedly asked if B L Santhosh intended to seek more time to appear before the SIT or was he prepared to challenge the issuance of the notice by the SIT. The High Court also reportedly expressed its dismay that there was no advocate present in the court to argue on behalf of the senior BJP leader.

B L Santhosh ought to respond to the SIT notice in one way or the other, the High Court observed. Meanwhile, the counsel for the BJP informed the High Court that the 70-year-old politician was travelling to campaign in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections and claimed that he had written to the SIT on his inability to appear before it.

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