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Cash-for-vote: Court sends TDP MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah to judicial custody

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Hyderabad: A city court on Tuesday sent Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator Sandra Venkata Veeraiah to judicial custody for 14 days in the cash-for-vote case.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Telangana, which arrested the lawmaker on Monday, presented him before the court on Tuesday.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judge sent him to judicial custody till July 21. He was later shifted to Cherlapally Jail. The court directed jail authorities to provide him special category status.

The ACB also moved another petition, seeking the legislator’s custody for five days for further questioning while the his lawyer moved a bail application. The court adjourned hearing on both the petitions till Wednesday.

Earlier, the ACB informed the court that the TDP legislator has been included as the fifth accused in the case as there is a strong evidence of his involvement. In a memo filed with the court, the ACB said Veeraiah spoke 32 times to one of the accused, Sebastian Harry, over phone.

The agency also told the court that Veeraiah tried to evade questioning last month by getting himself admitted to a hospital in Rajahmundry in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. It also accused him of trying to influence other accused.

Veeraiah’s lawyer opposed the petition on the ground that the ACB did not take the assembly speaker’s permission before arresting him.

Talking to reporters outside the court premises, Veeraiah said he was arrested under a conspiracy by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government to create problems for the TDP. He said he was not afraid of the false case.

The ACB arrested the legislator on Monday evening after day-long questioning at the ACB office in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.

He is the second TDP legislator to be arrested in the case.

The agency summoned him for questioning last month too but he failed to respond. He, later, sent a letter to the ACB, seeking 10 days’ time to appear before it, citing ill-health.

Veeraiah represents the Sattupalli assembly constituency in Khammam district of Telangana.

The ACB last month quizzed V. Narender Reddy who was the joint TDP-BJP candidate in the Telangana legislative council elections but he was not arrested.

TDP legislator Revanth Reddy was arrested by the ACB on May 31 while he was offering Rs.50 lakh as a bribe to nominated member Elvis Stephenson reportedly to induce him to vote for Narender Reddy.

The ACB, which laid a trap on a complaint by Stephenson, also arrested two aides of Revanth Reddy.

All the three were granted bail by the Hyderabad High Court last week.

The fourth accused, Jerusalem Mathaiah, is absconding and is believed to be hiding in Andhra Pradesh.

(IANS)

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Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi Among Top Names To Start Telangana Campaign

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Top Congress and BJP leaders, Narendra Modi and Rahul gandhi are all set to plunge into the electioneering in Telangana for the next month’s Assembly polls even as the ruling TRS has had a head start.

With the deadline for withdrawal of nominations coming to an end on Thursday, all major contenders were finalising their schedules for their star campaigners.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu, several central ministers and top leaders of the two national parties were set to hit the campaign trail.

Sonia Gandhi will be addressing an election meeting at Medchal on the outskirts here on November 23. The meet was expected to give a headstart to the party’s campaign as it heads a four-party ‘Mahakutami’ or grand alliance ahead of the single phase December 7 polls.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will share the stage with his mother on Friday at the meet.

As this is Sonia Gandhi’s first visit to Telangana after the formation of the state, the party leaders were holding it as a thanksgiving event in her honour for carving out the state.

Rahul Gandhi will again visit Telangana on November 28 and 29 and later on December 3 to address a series of rallies in different parts of the state.

"He can throw up a serious challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019," the Sena cautioned in an editorial in the party mouthpieces "Saamana" and "Dopahar Ka Saamana".
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Modi was expected to give boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party campaign by addressing a few rallies on November 27 and December 3. State BJP leaders say Modi may participate in the campaign in four districts, including here, covering the constituencies where the party is considered strong.

BJP chief Amit Shah, who addressed a couple of public meetings during September and October, plans to visit Telangana for three days soon to address 12 rallies.

Party’s Telangana unit president K. Laxman said Amit Shah will address the meetings on November 25, 27 and 28.

BJP is contesting all 119 seats on its own. Several union ministers are also likely to campaign for the party candidates. Health Minister J.P. Nadda and party general secretary Ram Madhav have already addressed a few meetings.

In his first-ever election in alliance with Congress party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is likely to address a few rallies. Party leaders say he may share the dais with Rahul Gandhi.

TDP, a constituent of ‘Mahakutami’ is contesting on 14 seats. Popular actor and TDP MLA N. Balakrishna may also address a few meetings, especially in Kukatpally constituency here, where his niece N. Suhasini is a candidate.

Suhasini is the granddaughter of TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao. Her actor brothers Junior NTR and Kalyan Ram are also likely to campaign for her.

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Modi, Rahul among top names to start Telangana campaign.

Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is racing ahead in the campaign with party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao addressing series of rallies. He is criss-crossing the state in a helicopter, seeking fresh mandate.

KCR, who had already addressed few meetings after dissolving the state assembly in September, plans to address 90 meetings in 15 days.

KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao is another key campaigner for the party. He has hit campaign trail here and in surrounding districts, focusing on constituencies with sizeable number of voters who have their roots in Andhra Pradesh.

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Besides, KCR’s daughter and party MP K. Kavitha and nephew Harish Rao were the other key campaigners for the party.

The campaign of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is being led by its president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. He is addressing public meetings and conducting foot march for his party’s candidates in the eight constituencies here. (IANS)