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Supreme Court Rejects Andhra Pradesh's Plea Against Naidu's Anticipatory Bail In Amaravati Scam

The Supreme Court dismissed Andhra Pradesh's challenge to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu's anticipatory bail in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road scam, citing a prior order and emphasizing that the state can seek bail cancellation if Naidu hinders the ongoing probe.

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Supreme Court Rejects Andhra Pradesh's Plea Against Naidu's Anticipatory Bail In Amaravati Scam
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The Supreme Court has rejected the Andhra Pradesh government's appeal challenging the anticipatory bail granted to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road (IRR) scam case. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta dismissed the state's plea, citing a previous order from November 2022 related to the same FIR and involving other accused.

The bench clarified that any remarks made during the grant of anticipatory bail to Naidu will not impact the ongoing investigation. However, it emphasized that if Naidu fails to cooperate in the probe, the state can apply for the cancellation of his bail.

During the hearing, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and advocate Mahfooz A Nazki, representing the state, argued that the high court misunderstood the case's merits while granting anticipatory bail to Naidu. Justice Khanna inquired about the relevance of Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, but Kumar indicated it might not apply in this matter.

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The bench instructed Kumar to read out the charges under the Indian Penal Code against Naidu. When Kumar mentioned charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust, Justice Khanna expressed skepticism about establishing a case of cheating against the former chief minister.

Siddharth Luthra, senior advocate for Naidu, pointed out that the Supreme Court had previously dismissed the state government's appeal against a co-accused in the case on November 7, 2022. Justice Khanna questioned the need to entertain the current appeal, given the similar nature of allegations, FIR, and facts.

Naidu, accused of involvement in corrupt practices related to the master plan for Amravati, the Andhra Pradesh capital, including the inner ring road's alignment during his tenure as chief minister, has already obtained regular bail in the Skill Development Corporation scam case and protection from arrest in the FiberNet scam case.

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The FiberNet case involves alleged tender manipulation under Phase-1 of the AP FiberNet Project, amounting to Rs 330 crore. On November 20, 2023, the Andhra Pradesh High Court converted Naidu's interim medical bail in the Skill Development Corporation scam case into regular bail, considering factors such as his age, health, and non-flight risk. Naidu, aged 73, was arrested on September 9 the previous year for allegedly misappropriating funds from the skill development corporation, causing a purported loss of Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer in 2015 during his tenure as chief minister.

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