The Supreme Court has referred the quash petition plea filed by former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu in the skill development scam case to the Chief Justice of India. On Tuesday, January 16, the two judge bench consisting of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M Trivedi delivered a split verdict on field Naidu's special leave petition challenging a September 22 order by the Andhra Pradesh High Court that refused to quash the FIR naming him as one of the accused in the scam.
Naidu was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh CID on September 9, for his alleged involvement in embezzlement of around Rs 371 crore during the Telugu Desam Party's rule between 2014 and 2019. Following the arrest, Naidu sought the quashing of a First Information Report (FIR). In his plea, Naidu said that the CID did not follow the procedure laid down under Section 17(A)(c) of the PC Act while taking him into custody. He argued that according to the Act, the FIR shouldn't have been filed without the Governor’s prior approval for investigation related to decisions made by a public servant.
According to LiveLaw, Justice Bose emphasised the need for prior approval under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988. He stated that without prior permission from the relevant authority, Naidu could not have been prosecuted for specific offences. However, Justice Bose denied the plea to quash the remand order, stating that the trial court possessed the authority to issue it. Justice Trivedi disagreed with her colleague on the application of Section 17A, and contended that this clause does not apply to offences that occurred prior to the major amendments made to the PC Act in 2018, but rather only to new offences under the Act.
"As we have taken different opinions on the interpretation of this section, as also applicability of the appellant, we refer the matter to the Chief Justice of India for appropriate directions," Justice Bose stated, according to LiveLaw.
Following his arrest, Naidu was remanded for 50 days at Rajahmundry Central Jail, Naidu was granted interim medical leave by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in October and a regular bail was granted by a single-judge bench.
Naidu has also been named as an accused in five cases by the CID. Naidu was named the third accused in an alleged illegal liquor licence case filed by the CID. The others are the skill development corporation scam case, the FiberNet scam case, the Amaravati Inner Ring Road alignment case, and the Angallu riot ca