The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in a petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh Government challenging the High Court order staying a probe into the case registered against a former advocate general and others for alleged irregularities in the Amaravati land distribution during the erstwhile TDP regime of N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The division bench of Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari adjourned the hearing to July 22. During the hearing, the Court said, “To hear the application, we will have to hear the matter to some extent.”
In this matter, last year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had issued interim orders on an application filed by Dammalapati Srinivas hours after the State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed a case against him and 12 others for alleged insider trading in Amaravati under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections of the IPC.
The State Government had thereafter decided to move the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s interim orders, staying a further probe in a case registered against Srinivas, a former advocate general, and 12 others in the Amaravati land scam and gagging the media from reporting on contents of the FIR against the accused.
Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Counsel for the State of Andhra Pradesh, submitted, “I have gone through the entire case law on this… The Supreme Court has never stopped an investigation before. This petition is a vengeance petition of a lost election. What I was suggesting, I am not in a position to say that it should be heard here. On instructions, I am told that it should be heard in the HC, at length. If it is against an interim order, all I can press for is that no coercive action is taken.”
Dhavan further submitted, “After that, it immediately projected on Social Media. I don’t want to indicate who these judges are but I don’t want to add another dimension to this case. Therefore, let the investigation proceed. We had asked the CBI to come in. I really don’t want to extend the process. All facts will come out.”
Referring to the judgment in question, the Senior Counsel said that after the filing of the writ petition, a learned judge of the Court refused a hearing and directed the Registry to list the matter before another judge. The FIR was then registered giving it a political colour.
Harish Salve, Senior Counsel for former Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas, said, “If he is pressing the SLP, then let it be heard. Otherwise, let the SLP be dismissed and the matter be heard by the High Court. He can’t have it both ways.”
The matter is now to be heard on July 22.