The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has called for dharnas and protests across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after a court in Maharashtra issued an arrest warrant against Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in a 2010 case related to an agitation staged by them over the Babli project across the Godavari river.
Judicial Magistrate First Class of Dharmabad in Nanded district NR Gajbhiye issued the order, directing the police to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court by 21 September. Naidu and others, then in the Opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh, were arrested and lodged in a Pune jail in connection with the agitation staged by them near the Babli project site in Maharashtra, opposing it on the ground that it would affect the people downstream. All of them were released later, although they had not sought bail.
However, TDP leaders have alleged that the arrest warrant is politically motivated. “This is nothing but a conspiracy by the BJP to intimidate the TDP. The BJP is afraid of the alliance that the TDP is forming in Telangana and the arrest warrant, which had expired, has been renewed to intimidate us,” Telangana TDP president L Ramana told The Indian Express. “It is revenge politics by BJP, Modi and Amit Shah,” TDP leader B Venkanna said, describing the process as "witch-hunting".
The court order, dated 5 July and supposed to be executed by 16 August — but corrected to 21 September, was issued on a petition filed by a Maharashtra resident. Besides Naidu, state water resources minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Social Welfare Minister N Anand Babu and former MLA G Kamalakar (who subsequently joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi) were among the TDP workers booked in the case. They have been charged with offences under the Indian Penal Code, including assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, act endangering life or personal safety of others, criminal intimidation among others.
Reacting to news about the court order, Naidu's son and state information technology minister N Lokesh said his father and the other TDP leaders would appear in court. "He (Naidu) fought to protect the interests of Telangana. He even refused to seek bail when he was arrested," Lokesh said. The chief minister is currently in Tirumala, near Tirupati, attending the annual Brahmotsavam of the Lord Venkateswara temple in Amaravati.
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Updated Date: Sep 14, 2018 16:08:37 IST