Things might worsen between the chief ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as the latter's return to Hyderabad after a gap of three months has seen a revival of interest in the cash-for-vote scam.
While the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) banks on Chandrababu Naidu's popularity to help them win the upcoming GHMC polls, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) may try to expedite the case.
"Any common man can understand Naidu’s politics. He has come to Hyderabad when the GHMC elections are around the corner. If he leads the poll campaign for his party, we will actually thank him for taking this decision at a time when the cash-for-vote case is pending against him," Telangana home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy told the Times of India.
This comes a few days after the state forensic science lab confirmed that the voices of the three accused recorded by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) matched with samples collected from the Legislative Assembly and media channels.
The accused include TDP legislators Revanth Reddy, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah and party worker Mathias Jeruselam and the ACB was bracing itself to seek Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu's voice sample for tests.
"As for seeking voice samples of the accused, we will follow the due procedure and the political factors and position the accused are holding will not affect us. For the investigator, the accused is just an accused irrespective of his post or position," ACB chief AK Khan told TOI.
"We anticipated the action of the TRS as we very well know KCR's politics. But we are not afraid as the case is ending in the court. I am confirming that Naidu will extensively campaign for us in Hyderabad and no one can stop him," Telangana TDP president L Ramana told the newspaper.
While the rivalry between the two chief ministers was put on hold, with Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao attending the inauguration ceremony of Andhra's capital 'Amaravati', the GHMC polls mostly coming up in January next year is witnessing the TDP and the TRS at it again.
Telangana TDP legislator A. Revanth Reddy was arrested by the ACB on May 31 when he was offering Rs.50 lakh to nominated MLA Stephenson to make him vote for the TDP-BJP candidate in the elections to Telangana legislative council.
ACB, which had laid a trap on a complaint by Stephenson, also arrested Revanth Reddy's aides. TRS leaders have been alleging that Naidu is the mastermind in the scam and he should be booked.
The ACB had earlier said that there were 516 telephone conversation records in another accused TDP leader Bishop Harry Sebastian's phone, of which 102 related to the cash-for-vote case.
However, the most important phone call was one alleged to be between Elvis Stephenson and Chandrababu Naidu.
The audio tape was first played by T News, a Telugu news channel owned by ruling TRS and was later picked up by others.
During the conversation, Naidu purportedly assured the nominated member that he is with him. "Our people briefed me. I am with you don't bother. For everything I am with you. What all they spoke we will honour," Naidu was heard as telling the legislator.
Complainant Elvis Stephenson statement before the magistrate claims that the phone call occurred at 4 pm on May 30 and that the voice in the call was Naidu's.
The forensic lab had earlier said that the call was 'unedited.'