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Cash-for-vote Tahelka: Charge sheet names AP CM Chandrababu Naidu

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Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s name figures in the preliminary charge sheet filed by Telangana Anti-Corruption bureau in the cash-for-vote case involving his party MLA A Revanth Reddy but not (not) as an accused.

The special ACB court is yet to take cognisance of charge sheet.

The case, when it came to light, sparked off a bitter war of words between TDP and TRS, the ruling party in Telangana.

According to the 25-page charge sheet, filed on July 28, Revanth Reddy, TDP’s deputy floor leader in Telangana Assembly, told the nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson (complainant in the case) that Naidu had authorised him to negotiate with Stephenson and persuade him to vote for TDP’s Vem Narender Reddy in the June 1 Telangana Legislative Council election.

Chandrababu Naidu purportedly had a conversation with Stephenson over phone on May 30, a day before Revanth, Bishop Sebastian Harry and Rudra Udaya Simha were trapped by ACB while offering a Rs 50 lakh bribe to Stephenson, it says.

Accordingly, Sebastian called up Stephenson and said he was with Chandrababu Naidu who wanted to speak to him, says the charge sheet.

Naidu, as quoted by the charge sheet, said to Stephenson: “Manavallu (my people), they briefed me, I am with you, don’t bother, for everything I am with you, what all they spoke, we will honour, freely you can decide, no problem at all, that is our commitment we will work together.”

Stephenson told ACB that Revanth Reddy first offered him Rs 2.5 crore. Naidu personally will take the decision, he allegedly said and also requested Stephenson to meet Naidu. He promised that the meeting will be confidential, according to the charge sheet.

Stephenson refused to meet Naidu and preferred to deal only with Revanth. When Revanth insisted that he should specify his demand, Stephenson asked for Rs five crore, says the charge sheet.

Revanth Reddy, according to the charge sheet, said he would inform Naidu about this deal. Naidu would also make Stephenson a nominated MLA in Andhra Pradesh or obtain some post for him, reserved for the Christian community, at the Centre, he said.

The charge sheet names four accused: Revanth Reddy, Sebastian, Uday Simha and M Jerusalem.

Stephenson, who represents the Anglo-Indian community in the Assembly, approached ACB in May alleging that he had been offered Rs five crore by Revanth Reddy to vote for TDP nominee. This led to the arrest of Revanth and others.

While Jerusalem got a stay from the High Court on his arrest, the other three are out on bail.