HYDERABAD: A day before MLC elections in Telangana, a dramatic cash-for-vote scam added a murky twist to the whole process on Sunday afternoon. TDP firebrand leader A Revanth Reddy was ‘caught’ in an attempt to offer Rs 50 lakhs as part of a Rs 5 cr deal to Elvis Stephenson to make him vote for TD. Stephenson is an MLA from Anglo-Indian community nominated by the ruling TRS.
Revanth Reddy was ‘trapped’ red-handed by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Hyderabad range officials when the MLA was offering the money. Revanth Reddy, however, denied making the underhand deal and said his arrest was done at the behest of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and he will come out clean from the case. Later in the night, dramatic footage of the conversation between Revanth and Stephenson was released by ACB officials who took Revanth to their Rd no 12, Banjara Hills office.
ACB sources claimed Revanth Reddy was in touch with Elvis Stephenson over the past few days with an offer to give Rs 5 crore for casting vote in favour of TDP candidate Vem Narender Reddy. Stephenson informed the same to ACB who laid a trap at Stephenson’s Pushpanilayam apartment at South Lalaguda in Secunderabad.
Around 2.30 pm, Revanth Reddy reached Stephenson’s apartment in a Scorpio from where he was ‘caught’ when he was reportedly giving Rs 50 lakh cash. “The episode was videographed and even the audio has been recorded,’’ ACB officials said, as they released the footage to media.
The entire operation was over within minutes. Just 10 minutes after Revanth Reddy arrived, two of his two aides arrived carrying two bags containing Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination notes totalling Rs 50 lakh entered the house, the ACB team swooped down on the three. The telephonic conversation between Revanth and Stephenson over the past two days has also been recorded, officials said.
ACB Deputy superintendent of Police (DSP) Ashok Kumar who led the ‘Special Operation’ said they have registered a case against Revanth Reddy under Prevention of Corruption Act and the Representation of Peoples Act and took into custody Revanth Reddy and two others.
Around the same time, the ruling TRS was holding a voting drill for its MLAs and this gave enough opportunities for the ministers and leaders to lash out at Revanth Reddy and TDP national chief N Chandrababu Naidu for horsetrading.
Rubbishing the allegations that TRS had trapped the TDP legislator, Srihari tried to turn the tables on Revanth’s colleague and TDP MLA Errabelli Dayakar Rao for stage-managing the arrest of Revanth Reddy.
“There is an internal power struggle in TDP. Dayakar is unhappy over Revanth Reddy making a favourable impression with the party leadership. So there is a possibility that Dayakar got Revanth arrested,” he remarked.
Revanth Reddy, however, looked unperturbed by his arrest and retorted saying that he would not be cowed down by the TRS government foisting false cases against him. “I came here after I received a call from my friend to discuss some urgent matter. I was at my camp office and I had an appointment with Chandrababu Naidu at 6 pm and came here before meeting my president. As soon as I entered, police attacked me, took away my wrist watch and I even suffered an injury on my right arm,’’ Revanth said.
“I will not leave KCR. One day, I will ensure that cases are registered against KCR for his illegal activities and also see that the same policemen, who attacked me now, drag KCR and arrest him,’’ Revanth Reddy thundered.
Even when he was shifted to ACB headquarters at Banjara Hills, Revanth Reddy vented his anger against Chandrasekhar Rao while twirling his mustache.
Earlier, TTDP MLAs called on Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma and submitted a representation alleging that the CM had directed the police to register false cases against TTDP MLAs.
The ACB officials are likely to produce Revanth Reddy before court on Monday.
Watch the video here: