The Supreme Court has rescheduled the hearing on a petition lodged by TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu to October 9. This petition challenges a ruling by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which denied his request to dismiss an FIR linked to the Skill Development Corporation scam.
A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi has asked senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who represents the Andhra Pradesh government, to submit all the materials presented in connection with this case to the high court.
Rohatgi contended that Naidu’s plea to quash the FIR should be rejected because section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which Naidu is relying on, was only enacted in July 2018, whereas the CBI initiated its inquiry into the case back in 2017.
Senior advocates Harish Salve, Abhishek Singhvi, and Siddharth Luthra, representing Naidu, countered that all the allegations in the FIR pertain to decisions, instructions, or recommendations made by Naidu during his tenure as the state’s chief minister. They argued that this is essentially a political case and that the provisions of section 17A should be applicable.
Luthra further asserted that multiple FIRs are being filed against Naidu, indicating a clear instance of political regime change. The bench has scheduled the next hearing for the upcoming Monday.
Naidu, who is 73 years old, was taken into custody on September 9 on charges of misappropriating funds from the Skill Development Corporation during his time as chief minister in 2015, allegedly causing a loss of ₹371 crore to the state’s finances. His judicial remand has been extended until October 5.
As per the CID’s remand report, Naidu is accused of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the intent of fraudulently misappropriating government funds for personal gain, disposing of property that was under the control of a public servant, in addition to engaging in cheating, forging documents, and destroying evidence.
Naidu, who also serves as the Telugu Desam Party chief, filed a petition with the Supreme Court on September 23, challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s decision to reject his plea to dismiss the FIR associated with the alleged scam.