HC Stays till Dec 5 Order Asking BJP Leader BL Santosh to Appear for SIT Questioning

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The Telangana high court has ordered a stay till December 5 on the notice issued to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary BL Santosh in the MLA poaching case.

Through the order issued under Section 41-A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the special investigation team (SIT) formed to investigate the case had asked the senior BJP leader to appear for questioning on November 26 or 28. The BJP leader then moved the court to quash the order, stating it did not specify on what grounds he was being summoned.

Notices under 41A are issued where the arrest of a person is not required, but reasonable suspicion exists against the said person. Senior counsel Prakash Reddy, who appeared on behalf of Santosh, said the police did not mention certain essential details required in the order.

This was the second order issued against BL Santosh in the MLA poaching case. The first notice was issued on November 16, asking him to appear on November 21. The BJP leader had stayed away citing election work. The court had then asked the SIT to give him more time to appear and had allowed issuance of a second order.

THE CASE

Three persons – Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nanda Kumar – were arrested by Cyberabad police in October from a farmhouse in Moinabad after they allegedly tried to lure four Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders into the BJP. The arrest came after a raid conducted on the basis of a tip-off by TRS leader Pilot Rohit Reddy. He alleged that while he was offered Rs 100 crore to join the saffron party, three others had been promised Rs 50 crore each.

Following the arrests, audio recordings of the alleged conversations among the accused started doing the rounds on the internet, in which Santosh’s name is allegedly mentioned.

NOTICES ISSUED

Apart from the BJP leader, two more persons — Pratap Goud, a lawyer from Hyderabad, and Chitralekha, wife of prime accused, Nanda Kumar — were also served notices to appear during the last hearing.

Before that, notices had been served to three other persons — Dr Jaggu Swamy, Tushar Vellapally (president of Bharath Dharma Jana Sena) and A Srinivas (a lawyer said to be a distant relative of Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar). So far, only Srinivas has appeared before the SIT.

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