Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×



Hyderabad: The cash-for-vote scam in Telangana took a dramatic turn on Sunday with the release of an audio tape of a purported telephonic conversation between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and nominated Telangana legislator Elvis Stephenson.

The Andhra government denied that it’s Naidu’s voice.

This is perhaps for the first time in India that a Chief Minister of a state has been tapped while allegedly trying to lure a legislator. Denying that it is Naidu’s voice, the Andhra Pradesh government has taken the release of audio tape seriously and vowed to fight it legally, constitutionally and politically.

The new twist may create a constitutional crisis as Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Telangana is planning to summon Naidu for questioning in the case.

Hyderabad is the common capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Both Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) governments have taken up the issue with E.S.L. Narasimhan, who is the governor for both the Telugu states.

The audio tape was released three days after Telangana Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy said that the government has proof that Naidu spoke to Stephenson and some other MLAs of TRS, to lure them to vote for TDP-BJP candidate in Telangana legislative council elections.

The audio tape was first played at T News, a Telugu news channel owned by ruling TRS and was later picked up by others.

During the conversation, Naidu purportedly assured the nominated member that he is with him.

“Our people briefed me. I am with you, don’t bother. For everything I am with you. What all they spoke we will honour,” Naidu was heard as telling the legislator.

In swift developments on Sunday night, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao met Governor Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan while Naidu called a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police J.V. Ramudu and other officials to take stock of the latest situation.

Rao’s meeting with the governor, the second in three days, came minutes after the release of the audio tape.

Telangana TDP legislator A. Revanth Reddy was arrested by the ACB on May 31 when he was offering Rs.50 lakh to Stephenson to make him vote for TDP-BJP candidate in the elections to Telangana legislative council.

ACB, which had laid a trap on a complaint by Stephenson, also arrested Revanth Reddy’s aides Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha.

TRS leaders have been alleging that Naidu is the mastermind in the scam and he should be booked.

The audio tape came to light a few hours after ACB questioned Revanth Reddy and two others for a second day. A city court had sent them to four-day custody of ACB.

Earlier in the day, Naidu met Narasimhan, who is governor for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The TDP chief reportedly complained to the governor about TRS government tapping his phone.

Meanwhile, Naidu’s media advisor Prakala Prabhakar told reporters on Sunday night that the voice in the audio tape is not the voice of Naidu.

He said the government was taking the release of the audio tape seriously and will not keep quiet.

“We will fight it legally, constitutionally and politically,” he said.

He wanted to know from the TRS government as to how it got the audio tape.

“If you have done telephone tapping, it is a crime and if you have recorded Mr. Chandrababu Naidu’s voice on different occasions, tampered it and presented to mislead people that it is his conversation, it is also a crime,” he said.

Naidu’s aide wondered how the audio tape could be released as evidence when the same should be produced in the court, where the case is being heard. Prakala condemned the attitude of Telangana government towards Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in the common capital. He said both the governments and both the Chief Ministers had equal rights in the common capital.

He pointed out that under section 8 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, the governor is responsible for law and order, protection of lives and property of people and vital installations in Hyderabad.

He alleged that the release of audio tape was a conspiracy to tarnish Naidu’s image and disrupt the public meeting scheduled to be held in Guntur on Monday to mark TDP government’s first year.

The media advisor said that the government would go ahead with the meeting and fight the conspiracy.

Andhra Pradesh’s Finance Minister and senior TDP leader Y. Ramakrishnudu said that the audio tape was a proof that the TRS government was violating law by tapping phones. (IANS)


Popular

Flickr

Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO.

Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.

According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
IANS

Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols.

A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."

Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.

Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
Pixabay

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune.

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.

Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.

covid virus The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less