Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu Tuesday received some respite as the Andhra Pradesh High Court temporarily suspended an inquiry into his assets by the CBI and other agencies.
The division bench of Justice G. Rohini and Justice Ashutosh Mohunta kept in abeyance the orders passed by another bench of the same court last month ordering probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other agencies against Naidu, his family members, some leaders of the TDP and media baron Ramoji Rao.
The court declared that the probe orders would be in abeyance till the petitions by Naidu and Ramoji Rao were disposed off. The court adjourned the hearing on the petitions till Wednesday.
The bench will now hear the arguments of lawyer of YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Vijayamma, who expressed reservations over the way the matter was transferred from two benches to the current one.
Vijayamma’s lawyer Susheel Kumar Monday argued that a “never before” practice was prevailing in the high court. He told the court that his client apprehend “legal bias” and hence was seeking transfer of the case to the Supreme Court.
The high court Nov 14 directed the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to conduct preliminary inquiry into the assets of Naidu and others and give reports within three months.
The court also ordered the probe against 13 others including Naidu’s wife N. Bhuvaneswari, companies owned by her, son N. Lokesh, TDP MP and industrialist Sujana Chowdary, Ramoji Rao, film actor Murali Mohan and the companies owned by them.
The court passed the orders on a writ petition filed by Vijayamma, widow of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. She alleged that Naidu, during his nine-year rule (1995-2004) amassed huge wealth by misusing power.
Naidu and others moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court order. However, the apex court directed them to file their petitions before the high court.