A judicial magistrate in Maharashtra has asked for Naidu and 15 others to be arrested and produced before him before 21 Sept in an 8-year-old case.
New Delhi: The Telugu Desam Party is up in arms, alleging vendetta by the BJP after a local court in Maharashtra issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against its leader and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in an eight-year-old case.
The TDP, which walked out of the BJP-led NDA a few months ago, has labelled it the Centre’s ‘war’ against the Telugu people, and said it is a conspiracy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis’s BJP government in Maharashtra.
N.R. Gajbhiye, the judicial magistrate first class of Dharmabad in Nanded district, issued the orders on 5 July, and ordered all the accused to be arrested and produced before him by 21 September.
The case was filed when Naidu was the leader of the opposition in undivided Andhra Pradesh. He and his party leaders were agitating at the site of the Babli reservoir project in Maharashtra, and were arrested and sent to prison in Pune. None applied for bail, but were released nonetheless.
The leaders have been charged with offences dealing with assault or criminal force to deter public servants from discharge of their duty, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, acts endangering life or personal safety of others, and causing hurt by acts of endangering safety of others.
‘A notice to all Telugus’
When contacted by ThePrint, TDP sources said the warrant was ‘a notice served to all Telugus’.
“We have several doubts over warrant issued suddenly to the CM in a case which is eight years old. In these eight years, not a single notice has been issued in this case. This is a conspiracy by Narendra Modi and the BJP government in Maharashtra,” a senior party leader said.
“Without any prior notices or warrants, how can they issue a non-bailable arrest warrant?”
The party has decided to stage protests across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Along with Naidu, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, the state’s water resources minister, and N. Anand Babu, social welfare minister, have also been booked in the case.
“The BJP government is intolerant over the state excelling in development, overtaking the ‘Gujarat model’. Modi is resorting to this politics of conspiracy,” said Varla Ramaiah, TDP leader who is the chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.
Rubbishing the allegations, Sunil Deodhar, BJP’s in-charge for Andhra, cautioned the TDP against making baseless comments.
“Ours is a government that does not interfere in court workings. We respect the law and so should other political parties. The law takes its own course and should not be politicised,” he said.
In 1975, the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh made a pact on the utilisation of Godavari water.
Andhra was to build the Sri Ram Sagar project (SRSP) dam, and utilise the water after setting aside 60,000 million cubic feet for Maharashtra.
Subsequently, Andhra alleged that Maharashtra had used up its quota of water and was building another project — Babli — on foreshores of the SRSP. It contended that a large area of what is now Telangana would become barren if Maharashtra had its way.
The matter went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Maharashtra — with a rider that the gates of the Babli project be opened during the monsoons to allow inflows to the SRSP.