Andhra Pradesh

Skill Development Corporation scam case: SC issues notice to Chandrababu Naidu on AP govt's plea

Jaison Wilson

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu and sought his response on a plea filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging a High Court order granting him regular bail in the skill development corporation scam case.

The court also relaxed the former chief minister’s bail conditions and allowed him to participate in public rallies and meetings till December 8, the next date for hearing the case. While issuing the notice, a bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and SC Sharma said, “Issue notice. Returnable on December 8. The conditions imposed in the bail order shall be continued, except participation in public rallies and meetings.”

Earlier, the High Court had converted Naidu’s four-week interim medical bail into absolute bail and ordered his release on regular bail, considering his age, ailments, non-flight risk and other reasons.It had said that the interim bail conditions such as refraining from making any public comments related to the scam case or organising or participating in public rallies and meetings will continue to be in force till November 28 and will be relaxed from November 29.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Naidu’s counsel argued that officers of the investigation department (APCID) are continuing to make public statements with reference to issues that are pending before the top court. “If there has to be a restraint, it ought to apply to both sides,” he contended. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi vehemently objected and said, “Restraint applies to an accused, it can’t apply to the government.”

After the HC granted bail to Naidu, the State government moved the Supreme Court and sought directions for setting aside the verdict. The State government submitted to the apex court that the accused (Naidu) is an ‘influential person’ and has helped two of his key associates (including a government servant) to flee the country.“The accused is therefore clearly obstructing the conduct of the investigation and, therefore, ought not to be granted bail,” the Special Leave Petition (SLP) read.

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