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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Supreme Court Sets February 26 for Hearing AP Government’s Plea Against Naidu’s Bail

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The Supreme Court has scheduled the hearing for February 26 regarding the Andhra Pradesh government’s appeal against a high court decision granting regular bail to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu in the skill development corporation scam case.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Naidu, informed the bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal that senior advocate Harish Salve will argue the matter but is unavailable presently. He requested a two-week deferment for Salve to present the case.

On behalf of the Andhra Pradesh government, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and advocate Mahfooz Ahsan Nazki urged the bench to expedite the appeal against the high court’s decision.

The bench proposed February 26 as the date for the hearing and scheduled it after two weeks.

Previously, on January 16, the Supreme Court issued a split verdict on Naidu’s plea contesting the high court’s refusal to quash the FIR against him in the Skill Development Corporation scam case.

Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi disagreed on the interpretation of section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, which was introduced in 2018. While Justice Bose suggested prior approval for probing alleged offenses against Naidu, Justice Trivedi opined that section 17A cannot be applied retrospectively.

Naidu, accused of misappropriating funds from the Skill Development Corporation during his tenure as chief minister, was arrested last September, allegedly causing a loss of Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer. He denies the allegations.

In November 2023, the Supreme Court relaxed bail conditions for Naidu, allowing him to participate in public events while upholding restrictions on public statements regarding the case.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had earlier converted Naidu’s interim medical bail into absolute bail, considering his age and health conditions. The state government has challenged this decision, citing Naidu’s influence and the flight of two of his associates.

Naidu, who underwent a cataract surgery in Hyderabad, was granted interim medical bail in October 2023.

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