Cash-for-vote case: high drama in city

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TSACBIt was a day of dramatic developments in the cash-for-vote case being investigated by Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau officials on Wednesday and the case of intimidation registered by the Andhra Pradesh police following the complaint lodged by an absconding accused in the first case.

Investigators of cash-for-vote case, which dragged the name of A.P. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu into the controversy of luring a nominated Telangana MLA to vote for his party nominee in MLC elections, served notice to a driver working in TDP headquarters of NTR Trust building here at Banjara Hills. The driver, Kondal Reddy, reportedly used to drive vehicles of VVIPs in TDP.

Telangana ACB officials went to the TDP office on Tuesday night and then to Naidu’s residence to serve the notice, but he was not available there. “Mr. Kondal Reddy could be avoiding us but we wanted to examine him as a witness. Finally, on Wednesday, we pasted a notice at his house at Venkatagiri in Yousufguda,” an investigator told The Hindu . Sources maintained that Mr. Kondal Reddy was the crucial link in the mobile phone conversations related to the case.

The notice stated that he should appear before the ACB officials Thursday morning.

Hours after the notice was pasted at his house, A.P. Crime Investigation Department officials drove in three vehicles to Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s camp office-cum-residence at Begumpet. They wanted to serve notices on the gunman and the driver of Telangana Minister K.T. Rama Rao, son of Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao, in a case of criminal intimidation. This case was registered after Jerusalem Mathaiah, one of the four accused whose name figured in the First Information Report of the cash-for-vote case, complained to the A.P. police that he received threatening calls from some mobile phone numbers. Investigation reportedly traced these calls to the gunman and the driver of Mr. Rama Rao.

According to Telangana ACB officials, Mr. Mathaiah was absconding and wanted by them in the case. While the other three persons whose names were mentioned in the cash-for-vote FIR were arrested, he was still evading the police.

Apparently, the Telangana police got wind of the notices to be served by the AP CID. They deployed huge contingents of policemen at the barricaded road leading to the camp office and did not allow the media persons even to come close.

When the AP CID officials team arrived, Punjagutta ACP M. Venkateswarlu sent them away stating Mr. Rama Rao and his gunman were not available. They returned some time later and went to the Chief Minister’s private residence at Nandininagar at Banjara Hills. On being told that Mr. Rama Rao’s gunman was not there, they left for their office.