‘Not afraid as I didn't commit crime’: Andhra CM Naidu responds to arrest warrant

A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Chandrababu Naidu by a Maharashtra court with regard to his protests against the Babli project on the Godavari River.
‘Not afraid as I didn't commit crime’: Andhra CM Naidu responds to arrest warrant
‘Not afraid as I didn't commit crime’: Andhra CM Naidu responds to arrest warrant
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Responding to a non-bailable warrant issued against him by a Maharashtra court, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday said that he was not afraid as he did not commit any crime. This, even as the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) alleged that it was a conspiracy by the Union government to target him.

"During my entire political career, I always worked for the people," Naidu told a public meeting in Kurnool on Friday. “I heard about the reports of the court case and the issuance of an arrest warrant against me. I did not commit any crime. In the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh, I protested against Babli on Godavari River as it was a project within a project that would harm the interests of North Telangana,” he was quoted as saying.  

Judicial Magistrate First Class, Dharmabad Court (Nanded), NR Gajbhiye on Thursday issued the warrant against Naidu and his Cabinet colleagues – Irrigation Minister DU Rao, Social Welfare Minister G Kamalakar and 12 others – in a 2010 case pertaining to an agitation against the Babli Barrage on the Godavari River.

The police have been ordered to arrest them and present them before the court at the next hearing on September 21.

The incident took place when the TDP had organised massive protests against what it termed the "illegal constructions" of the Babli Barrage project by the Maharashtra government allegedly to divert the Godavari River water from Telangana region of the then undivided Andhra Pradesh.

At that time, Naidu, who was the Leader of Opposition in the state, along with 40 legislators, had entered the barrage vicinity flouting prohibitory orders clamped there.

The police had caned some protesters and later arrested all of them.

Later, as Naidu refused to take bail, he was sent back to Hyderabad by a flight, and subsequently cases were filed against all the agitators on various counts.

The TDP chief said he wanted to go to the Babli project site to lodge a protest as it would have allegedly reduced north Telangana “to a desert”.

"Whether we are in power or in Opposition, we always fought for the people," Naidu said.

Meanwhile, TDP MP Kesineni Nani told reporters in Vijayawada that the Central government is resorting to a witch-hunt against the TDP chief for fighting against the injustice meted out to Andhra Pradesh.

Nani wondered how the warrants were issued when the Maharashtra Police had stated at that time that the case is being closed.
Nani accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy of being behind the conspiracy. The MP, however, said nobody can do anything to Naidu as he enjoyed the people's support.

Actor-turned-politician Shivaji also joined the chorus on Friday and said that a conspiracy was being hatched against Naidu. He claimed that more notices would be issued to the TDP leader in the coming days.

Shivaji, who was earlier with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had said last week that Naidu would soon get the notice as the Central government is looking to target him under what he calls operation 'Garuda'.

However, BJP leaders in Andhra Pradesh denied that their party was behind the warrant against Naidu.

Naidu's TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA in March this year. The party later moved a no trust motion against the Narendra Modi government.

With IANS inputs

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