Andhra HC takes suo motu cognisance of theft at Nellore court

The Andhra Pradesh High Court has taken suo motu note of the incident of theft at a court in Nellore in which material relating to a case involving a state minister was stolen.

The Advocate General conveyed to the High Court that the government has no objection to handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The High Court issued notices to CBI director, Director General of Police and Agriculture Minister Kakani Govardhan Reddy.

The court directed the DGP to submit a report on the status of investigation and adjourned the hearing till May 6.

Documents and items relating to forgery and defamation case involving Agriculture Minister were stolen from Fourth Additional Civil Judge court in Nellore on April 14.

The incident raised suspicion as it took place a few days after Govardhan Reddy became a minister in the state cabinet.

A laptop, iPad, three cell phones and documents were stolen. They were all said to be part of forgery and defamation case filed by senior leader of opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy against Govardhan Reddy.

In December 2017, Sarvepally MLA Kakani Goverdhan Reddy alleged that former minister Somireddy had properties worth thousands of crores of rupees in foreign countries.

He released a few documents, quoting them as property documents, to the media. Subsequently, Somireddy had filed a complaint with Nellore rural police station that Govardhan Reddy had forged documents and demanded action against him.

He even filed a defamation case against Goverdhan in court.

Later, it was proved that the documents provided by Goverdhan Reddy were fake and a charge sheet was filed against him.

Govardhan Reddy, however, dismissed the allegations of his involvement in the theft at court and said he was ready for any probe.

Police arrested two offenders for their alleged involvement in the theft. However, the TDP alleged that the police were trying to shield real culprits by arresting two petty offenders.

The Nellore district judge had reportedly stated in his report that police investigations in the case were not heading in the right direction and felt that an independent probe can bring out the truth.

The High Court suo motu treated the report of the district judge as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and took up the hearing.

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