VIJAYAWADA: Coming down heavily on the Centre for handing over the probe into attack on YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said they would approach the court against the decision. “We will fight to protect the powers of the State,” Naidu declared.
Speaking to reporters here, he said he would not remain silent if the Centre tried to take away the powers of the State. “This is the best example that you two (referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jagan) joined hands. You are trying to usurp the powers of the State to protect the persons of your choice. Who are you to interfere in the State affairs? How are you concerned? How can you come to our State?’’ he questioned.
The Chief Minister said the Centre and States were two separate sovereign entities and one should not cross other’s path. “Both (Centre and State) should work within their purview to avoid any conflict. This is not just the case with AP, but all the 29 States,’’ he said and added that he would initiate nationwide debate on the issue.
Naidu also lashed out at Opposition Leader Jagan, calling him an “irresponsible person”, who did not file a complaint with the AP police after the attack on him saying that he had no confidence in the State police.
“Where will you give a complaint? In Pakistan or US?’’ he questioned and wondered if the Centre would accept if Jagan claimed he did not have confidence in the Union Government and approached court in the US or International Court of Justice. “The Centre is giving shelter to Jagan in the guise of NIA probe,” he said.
Earlier, expressing concern over the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directing the NIA to probe the Jagan attack case, Naidu urged the Prime Minister to revoke the order and said a rather “insignificant” issue was now being projected as a flagship case worthy of investigation by a national agency. After the MHA issued the order on December 31, 2018, the NIA registered a case the very next day.
In a strongly-worded letter addressed to Modi, Naidu said the NIA registered the case in less than 24 hours after the MHA’s order in a case of “negligible injury” when compared to the “indifference” showed by the Centre in dealing with the assassination of a sitting MLA and a former MLA by Maoists at Dumbriguda in Visakhapatnam Agency in September 2018.
Jagan attack accused shifted to Hyderabad
A day after getting the custody of Janepalli Srinivasa Rao, accused in the attack on YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the National Investigation Agency officials shifted him to Hyderabad for questioning. On Saturday, the NIA officials took Rao into their custody. He will be in NIA’s custody till January 18.
Centre bringing down autonomy of every institution: Naidu
The CM said, “It is with great regret and anguish I am to say that the Union Government is bringing down the sanctity and autonomy of every institution with particular reference to the matter in which the MHA entrusted the investigation of the airport incident to the NIA without dealing with/reasoning out the objections furnished by the State government in this regard.’’
Naidu also mentioned the opposition of Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, to the NIA Act and also on the party platforms. “It is comprehensible rather bewildering to reconcile with the order of MHA in the backdrop of your words as CM of Gujarat at the Conference of Police Chiefs in January 2009 soon after the enactment of the NIA Act, 2008,’’ Naidu said and recalled Modi’s words then, “By setting up the NIA, the Central government now obviously wants to take upon itself the responsibility of fighting terror by sidetracking the States.’’
“The AP government is dismayed at the approach of the Union Government in utter disregard of prevailing conventions and traversing arenas within the exclusive domain of the State. It is needless to mention that law and order is the fundamental responsibility and police function is the primary objective of any State,’’ Naidu said and added that the federal setup calls for a policy of non-interference in the subjects, which are in the exclusive legislative domain of the States.
Making it clear that the attack on Jagan would not come under Section 3A of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act 1982, Naidu said individual instances of crime between persons as long as the matter does not pose a threat to the safety of civil aviation at the airport cannot be perceived as a scheduled offence attracting investigation by the NIA under Section 6 of the Act.
“The incident by no stretch of imagination can be conceived as one having national and international ramifications or is an offence of grave nature fit enough necessitating the investigation by the NIA, more so, when the victim himself walked away without even reporting the same to the authorities concerned,” Naidu said and added that in spite of the objections raised by the AP Home Department, the Union Government “usurped” its jurisdiction on the issue where it had none.
Referring to the judgement of Bombay High Court in Pragya Singh Chandrapal Singh vs NIA which laid the procedure to be adopted by the Central government while dealing with Section 6 (3) of the NIA Act, Naidu said the issue was dealt with by the Union government in “blatant violation” of the law.
BJP govt shielding ‘offenders’: Naidu
There are several instances of political interference by the BJP government to bail out its blue-eyed activists involved in serious offences investigated by the NIA by exerting pressure on the public prosecutors of the NIA so as to dilute the severity of offences to enable their acquittal. Rohini Salian was appointed Public Prosecutor in Malegaon blast case.
She gave an interview to a national newspaper that she got a call from the top officer of NIA, which is investigating Malegaon blast and other cases. The top officer at the instance of the Union government came and said to her to go soft on these cases and she stood by what she stated in her interview, Naidu said.