MLA poaching case: BJP’s Santhosh, Tushar yet to appear before T’gana SIT

A lawyer said to be a relative of Telangana BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar on Monday appeared before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police probing MLAs’ poaching case but BJP General Secretary B.L. Santhosh and two others were yet to respond to the notice served to them.

Bhusarapu Srinivas, a lawyer from Karimnagar, reached the Police Command and Control Centre in Hyderabad before 10.30 a.m., the time given by the SIT.

Srinivas had allegedly funded the flight expenses for Simhayaji, one of the three accused arrested for the alleged attempt to buy four MLAs of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

However, Santosh, president of Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) Tushar Vellapally and Jaggu Swami had not appeared for questioning till noon.

There was no clarity if they would make themselves available to SIT on Monday to record their statements or will seek more time.

On November 19, the Telangana High Court had turned down the request of the BJP state unit to stay the notice issued to Santhosh.

Justice B. Viajaysen Reddy, however, made it clear that Santhosh should not be arrested since the SIT had already issued notice to him under Section 41A of Criminal Procedure Code.

The judge observed that Santhosh should not apprehend his arrest and asked him to comply with the conditions imposed in the SIT notice.

The same day, the court heard an application filed by the Telangana government seeking instruction to Delhi Police commissioner to cooperate with the SIT in serving notice to Santhosh.

The judge ordered that notice should be served to the top BJP functionary without any further delay. He allowed SIT to serve notice to Santhosh through an e-mail or WhatsApp to the Delhi Police officer concerned.

The SIT, in its notice, asked the BJP leader to appear before it in Hyderabad on November 21. It also stated that if he fails to appear before it, he will be arrested.

Santhosh’s name figured in the conversation between three alleged BJP agents arrested by the police last month while trying to lure four MLAs of TRS to the BJP fold with an offer of huge money.

All the four were summoned on the same day for questioning for their alleged links with the three accused arrested in the case last month.

Jaggu Kottilil alias Jaggu Swami is working in Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi while Tushar Vellapally is leader of BDJS, an ally of BJP in Kerala.

The name of Tushar, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, figured in the conversation the three accused had with TRS MLAs.

Ramachandra Bharati, the main accused reportedly confessed that Jaggu Swami was linked to the cash that was promised to the TRS MLAs as inducement.

Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nandakumar were arrested by the Cyberabad police from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26 when they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of TRS with offers of huge money.

Cyberabad police conducted the raid on a tip-off by Pilot Rohit Reddy, one of the MLAs. He alleged that the accused offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs.50 crore each to three others.

The accused were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

20221122-000803

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