CBI registers FIR against 16 persons for social media posts against Andhra HC judges

The High Court had earlier ordered a CBI probe into ‘defamatory’ remarks against the judiciary by YSRCP leaders
Andhra Pradesh High Court building in Amaravati
Andhra Pradesh High Court building in Amaravati
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A month after the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into the alleged ‘defamatory’ remarks against the judiciary made by several individuals including leaders of the ruling YSRCP, the CBI has registered a case against 16 persons. An FIR (First Information Report) was registered at ACB Visakhapatnam on November 11, clubbing 12 cases that were previously being investigated by the Andhra Pradesh CID (Crime Investigation Department). 

“In view of the similarities in the nature of allegations and the modus operandi, these 12 cases are being clubbed into one FIR, for the purpose of uniformity and to look into commonality if any,”  the FIR said. The CID cases had earlier been registered based on complaints lodged by the Registrar General of Andhra Pradesh High Court, who had alleged that “key personnel who are occupying posts of prominence” in the state were intentionally targeting the judges of the Andhra Pradesh HC. According to the complaint, the accused persons had made posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, “attributing motives, caste and corrupt allegations” to judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court as well as the Supreme Court. Some of them had also allegedly  written “abusive, life threatening and intimidating posts” against the HC judges over recent judgements delivered by them. 

In an earlier hearing in October, the HC had observed that the comments made against the judiciary by some YSRCP leaders on social media were “perilous to democracy.” The court had orally observed that comments made on social media by Assembly Speaker Tammineni Sitaram, Deputy Chief Minister Narayana Swamy, YSRCP MPs V Vijayasai Reddy, Nandigam Suresh and other leaders of the ruling party amounted to an attack on the judiciary. Ordering a CBI probe on October 12, the HC had also asked the agency to investigate whether such attacks on the judiciary were made as part of a larger conspiracy. 

According to reports, the Registrar General’s complaint also included the names of YSRCP MP Nandigam Suresh, and YSRCP leader Amanchi Krishna Mohan. However, these names do not feature in the CID cases and the latest FIR by the CBI name. Sixteen persons have been named in the case as accused persons — Konda Reddy Dhamireddy, Mani Annapureddy (abroad) Sudheer Pamula, Adarsh Reddy, Abhishek Reddy, Siva Reddy, Sridhar Reddy Avuthu, Jalagam Venkata Satya Narayana, G Sridhar Reddy, Linga Reddy, Chandu Reddy, Srinath Suswaram, Kishore Reddy Darisa (abroad), Chiranjeevi, Linga Reddy Rajasekhar Reddy (abroad), K Gowthami — as well as a seventeenth unknown person. These individuals have been booked for anti-judiciary posts made between April 1 and July 15 this year. 

The accused have been booked for intentionally provoking, promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will, criminal intimidation, publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, under relevant sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) and Section 67 of the IT Act.

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