Hyderabad: Amidst an ongoing fight between the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over an alleged attempt to poach the ruling party’s legislators, the Congress has filed a police complaint against the Telangana chief minister saying he lured its 12 MLAs in a similar way some four years ago.
On Friday, Congress state chief Revanth Reddy and some other senior leaders filed a complaint with the Moinabad police station against Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and the dozen legislators who defected to the ruling party, which was then called Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2018. TRS was renamed as BRS, late last year.
‘Deriving strength’ from the ongoing probe and the court hearing in the BRS-BJP MLA poaching case, the Congress claimed that the ‘modus operandi’ was same in its case too when KCR lured its MLAs with monetary benefit to jump ship.
What’s interesting is three of the four MLAs, who were said to be the BJP target, were formerly Congress MLAs who switched allegiance in 2018. The trio of Pilot Rohith Reddy, Rega Kantha Rao and Beeram Harshvardhan Reddy is also among the 12 defectors whose exit resulted in the Congress losing its status of the principal opposition party. Congress was left with only six MLAs after the exodus of the dozen MLAs.
“It is stated that the modus operandi alleged to have been adopted by the BJP in order to induce TRS MLAs to join BJP involved monetary benefits, government civil contracts and other high Central government positions involving monetary benefits are similar to the modus operandi adopted and benefits offered by the TRS and allied accused persons to former Congress MLAs to lure them to join TRS,” the complaint copy said.
A significant part of the complaint copy took reference of the FIR filed in the BJP-TRS MLA poaching fight and also relevant Court orders from the case. The case, in which the Telangana government-appointed SIT also named BJP senior leader B. L. Santosh, as one of the accused, is now with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
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In its complaint, the Congress pointed out that Sabitha Indra Reddy, one of the defectors, was made a minister in KCR’s cabinet, while others were given monetary benefits and posts in state-run corporations.
Terming the 12 defectors as ‘habitual offenders’, the Congress said the FIR that was filed in the BJP-TRS poaching case was based on their former MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy’s complaint at the same Moinabad police station.
It added that the complaint relates to the nature similar to the allegations which form the gravamen (i.e. essence) of the FIR which was investigated by a government-appointed SIT.
“The present complaint also derives strength from the Order dated 26.12.2022 passed by the Telangana High Court in writ petition titled ‘BJP & Ors v. State of Telangana & Ors’ wherein the court has taken a strict view of the biased nature of the investigation being undertaken at the behest of TRS and has ordered investigation to be transferred to CBI,” the copy read.
When the Telangana Rashtra Samithi formed the government for the first time from 2014 to 2018, a total of 4 Parliament members, 25 MLAs and 18 MLCs from various parties defected to TRS, the complaint noted, adding that the TRS lured members of other political parties as well.
“The FIR (in the BJP MLA poaching case) cannot be seen in isolation or independent from each other because there are overlapping persons in both instances of MLA poaching…It is imperative for the investigating agency to unearth complete chain of criminal conspiracy behind bribing public servants by political parties..,” the complaint said.
Congress state president Revanth Reddy said he would file a complaint with the Enforcement Directorate as well as the CBI about the same.
In December, the Congress faced a turmoil after senior leaders went all out against Revanth Reddy on how autocratically he is running the party. The scene got so ugly that the Congress brass sent Digvijaya Singh to pacify the leaders.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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