Andhra HC grants anticipatory bail to Chandrababu Naidu in three cases

The Andhra Pradesh HC granted anticipatory bail to Naidu in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road, sand, and liquor cases, which the CID had registered after his arrest and imprisonment in the skill development case.
TDP Supremo N Chandrababu Naidu
TDP Supremo N Chandrababu Naidu
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In a relief to former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday, January 10, granted him anticipatory bail in three cases. Judge T Mallikarjun Rao pronounced the orders on bail petitions of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road, sand, and liquor cases. Former minister Kollu Ravindra and retired IAS officer Srinaresh were also granted anticipatory bail in the liquor case. The court directed Naidu to refrain from making any comments that could influence the investigation.

The CID had registered these cases against Naidu following his arrest in the Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Corporation case on September 9 last year. After spending 52 days in jail, Naidu walked out of jail on October 31 after the High Court had granted him bail.

While he was in jail, the CID had registered two cases against him for alleged irregularities in the construction of Amaravati Inner Ring Road and for allegedly favouring some liquor companies when he was the Chief Minister from 2014 to 2019. The TDP chief had filed three separate petitions in the High Court seeking anticipatory bail. The judgments in all three were reserved on different dates.

In the Skill Development Corporation case, there were allegations against Naidu and others that they caused a loss of Rs 241 crore to the state exchequer in the name of setting up skill development centres. Two days later, the CID booked a case against Naidu in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road case. 

The liquor case was registered a couple of days before Naidu was granted bail and released from jail. Following a complaint by Andhra Pradesh State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL) MD D Vasudeva Reddy, the CID had registered the case against Naidu, then Excise Minister Kollu Ravindra, and then Excise Commissioner Srinaresh.

The CID alleged that the decisions taken by them, without following due process and business rules, caused a loss to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore to the exchequer. It charged them with causing pecuniary gain to retail and bar licence holders as well as some companies which supplied liquor to the APSBCL. 

On November 2, the CID filed another case against Naidu regarding free sand policy. Former Mines and Geology Minister Peethala Sujatha, and former MLAs Chintamaneni Prabhakar and Devineni Umamaheswara Rao were also booked. It is alleged that Naidu, his then Cabinet colleague and MLAs from the specific sand reach areas and others significantly benefited from the free sand policy. The CID stated in its FIR that the free sand policy was implemented by the then government without following due procedures.

Naidu, in his anticipatory bail petitions, had argued that the cases were registered as part of the political vendetta unleashed by the ruling dispensation to keep him in jail till the 2024 Assembly elections.

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