Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea alleging cash-for-vote in LS polls in Tamil Nadu

The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea which alleged that people were being bribed on a massive scale for the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it was not inclined to hear the matter since the elections in the state were already over.

“As elections in the state of Tamil Nadu are over, we are not inclined to entertain this petition,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

The apex court had earlier sought Election Commission’s response on the plea in which the petitioner had sought creating awareness through TV, newspapers and radio that it was a punishable offence to give or take cash for votes.

The petition had said that so far Rs 78.12 crore in cash has been seized in the state.

The plea said the poll panel has already designated all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, along with 70 other seats across the country, as “expenditure sensitive”.

“That Case of the petitioner is that there are reports in all the leading newspapers and T.V. Channels regarding cash-for-vote in bye elections and Lok Sabha, elections and state assembly elections. A survey report also speak about the increasing cash for vote practice in Tamil Nadu,” it said.

The petition further said that if one political party has an overwhelming superiority in money, the newspapers support and give patronage to it, and it will be almost impossible for it ever to be defeated.

“This would result in some voters being denied an equal voice and some candidates, denied equal chance,” it said.

The plea also alleged that all political parties openly paid cash-for-vote to the voters in Madurai, Thirumangalam bye-election held on 2009.

“A main major political party paid Rs 5,000 each to the voters to cast their vote, to their favoured candidates. The Election Commission’s hands were tied and its officials were seen as silent spectators in Madurai, Thirumangalam Bye Election constituency,” the plea claimed.

The petition sought increase in the number of flying squads appointed by EC to control cash-for-vote and effective monitoring.

It also sought that if election is postponed or cancelled for the reason of distribution of cash for vote or for deviating any election rules, the huge money spent for election by government should be recovered from the candidate/ head of political party.

The petitioner had referred to the media and intelligence reports to say that Rs 10,000 crore case was arriving in Tamil Nadu and the recent seizure of Rs 11.5 crore from a cement godown in Vellore district by the I-T investigation wing substantiates the allegations that huge cash was being used for votes.

Cash for vote: HC questions non-inclusion of names in FIR

Cash for vote: HC questions non-inclusion of names in FIR
Cash for vote: HC questions non-inclusion of names in FIR

The Madras High Court today asked the Tamil Nadu government to explain as to why names figuring in the Election Commission and IT Department reports on the alleged bribing of RK Nagar assembly segment voters were not mentioned in the relevant FIR.

The FIR against unnamed persons had been registered on a complaint by the Returning Officer of the constituency, where the April 12 byelection was rescinded by the EC over the alleged use of money power to influence voters.

A bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Sundar sought the government’s explanation while hearing a lawsuit by one M P Vairakkannan, seeking the court’s direction for lodging an FIR on the electoral malpractices in the RK Nagar bypoll.

The court also issued notice to the Election Commission, Chennai police commissioner, the Tamil Nadu’s chief electoral officer, besides the returning officer of RK Nagar assembly constituency seeking their replies by July 14 to the petition.

On June 19, the court had sought a status report from the EC on the matter and had directed the Chennai police to submit the case diary.

Accordingly, the EC and the police had submitted their reports to the bench today.

After perusing the reports, the bench said the Income Tax report mentioned several names while the EC report had three particular names.

It said none of the names were there in the FIR with the column for the names of accused left blank.

In his response, the attorney general said these were the slips which were seized at the time of the raid conducted by the IT department and that investigation was underway.

To this, the bench again asked the AG, “Why the names that were mentioned in the report of EC were not shown in the FIR?”

The bench then directed the high court registry to keep all the reports in a sealed cover.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami earlier this week informed the state assembly that a case had been registered in this regard by police and investigation was on.

He was responding to Leader of Opposition M K Stalin (DMK) and Congress members who raised the issue of EC asking the state Chief Electoral Officer to instruct the Returning Officer to lodge a police complaint on the alleged bribing of voters in RK Nagar constituency.

( Source – PTI )

Cash-for-vote: HC dismisses plea

Cash-for-vote: HC dismisses plea
Cash-for-vote: HC dismisses plea

The Hyderabad High court today dismissed an application moved by Telangana’s nominated MLA Elvis Stephensonseeking the judge to recuse himself from hearing a petition filed by J Muthaiah, an accused in the cash-for-vote case.

In another development, a local court today extended the judicial remand of TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and two others till July 13 in connection with the case.

Muthaiah had earlier moved the application seeking quashing of the FIR filed by Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau against him. ACB had arrested TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and two others on May 31 in connection the case.

Justice Shiv Shankar Rao, while dismissing the petition, said he is impartial and nobody can doubt his integrity.

The judge observed that the allegations levelled by Stephenson against the HC amounted to contempt of court and directed the high court registry to file a criminal contempt of court case against the MLA.

A legal counsel representing Stephenson said the Chief Justice of the high court will take a decision with regard to the filing contempt of court case.

Stephenson, citing certain events that took place in the court during the first hearing on Muthaiah’s petition, had alleged that he may not get justice in the case as the court “seemed to be pre-determined”.

The same court had earlier stayed Muthaiah’s arrest by ACB until further orders.

Meanwhile, a local court today extended the judicial remand of Revanth Reddy and two others till July 13.

Earlier, Stephenson had lodged a complaint with ACB alleging that he was offered Rs 5 crore by the TDP MLA to vote in favour of a Telugu Desam MLC nominee in Telangana Legislative Council polls held on June 1.

Subsequently, ACB had arrested Revanth, along with Bishop Harry Sebastian and R Uday Simha, on May 31 on the charge of paying an alleged bribe of Rs 50 lakh to Stephenson.

Revanth Reddy and two other accused are presently in judicial custody and lodged in Cherlapally Central Prison here.

Some channels had earlier aired a conversation allegedly between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Stephenson.

A war of words had broken out between the two states after the cash-for-vote case, with Naidu alleging that his phone was tapped even as a total of 87 cases were registered by AP Police against Telangana CM and others.

However, Telangana government and ACB denied that the phones of Naidu and others were tapped.

Cash-for-vote: HC reserves order on Reddy’s bail plea

Cash-for-vote: HC reserves order on Reddy's bail plea
Cash-for-vote: HC reserves order on Reddy’s bail plea

The Hyderabad High Court today reserved till June 30 its order on the bail applications of Telangana TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy and two other accused in the cash-for-vote case.

The high court heard the arguments of the defence and prosecution and reserved its judgement on their petitions.

Earlier, the special court for ACB cases had rejected the bail pleas of Reddy and two others.

Subsequently, Reddy, the prime accused in the case, along with two other accused, moved the Hyderabad High Court seeking bail on June 15. Reddy contended before the high court that it is a politically motivated case and he is being falsely implicated.

During arguments, the defence counsel today contended that their clients have already served 25 days in custody and asserted that all evidence in the case was collected and there was no question of tampering.

However, Telangana Advocate General Ramakrishna Reddy, who represented ACB, opposed the bail applications stating that the source of Rs 4.5 crore funds was yet to be ascertained and apprehended tampering of evidence.

“He (Reddy) is an MLA and an influential person, representing from a party (TDP), which is in power in the neighbouring (Andhra Pradesh) state,” the AG contended, adding the FSL report pertaining to audio-video recordings in the case was still awaited and many witnesses also needed to be examined.

Earlier, Telangana nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson had lodged a complaint with ACB alleging that he was offered Rs 5 crore by the TDP MLA to vote in favour of a Telugu Desam MLC nominee in Telangana Legislative Council polls held on June 1.

Subsequentally, ACB had arrested Revanth along with Bishop Harry Sebastian and R Uday Simha on May 31, while they were paying an alleged bribe of Rs 50 lakh to Stephenson.

Revanth Reddy and two other accused are presently under judicial custody till June 29 and lodged in Cherlapally Central Prison here.