Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Saturday in connection with a corruption case. The arrest warrant was served to him in Nandyal district, where he was addressing a public meeting as part of his state-wide tour.
Alleged irregularities in land allotment
The case against Naidu pertains to the alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to a private company during his tenure as the chief minister. The CID had registered a case against him and 16 others in 2021, based on a complaint filed by a YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) leader. The complainant alleged that Naidu had abused his official position and caused a loss of Rs 2,000 crore to the state exchequer by allotting 4,000 acres of land to Indu Techzone Pvt Ltd at a throwaway price.
The CID had issued notices to Naidu and others in March 2021, asking them to appear before the agency for questioning. However, Naidu had challenged the notices in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which had stayed the proceedings. The CID then moved the Supreme Court, which lifted the stay order on September 8, 2023, paving the way for Naidu’s arrest.
High drama at Nandyal
According to sources, a team of CID officials reached Nandyal around 1 am on Saturday and served the arrest warrant to Naidu under Section 50 (1) (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Naidu was resting in his vanity van after addressing a public meeting as part of his ‘Nava Nirmana Deeksha’ campaign.
The arrest warrant sparked high drama at the spot, as a group of TDP workers got into an argument with the police and tried to prevent them from taking Naidu into custody. A minor scuffle also broke out between the two sides, resulting in some injuries. The police had to use mild force to disperse the crowd and escort Naidu to a nearby hospital for a medical examination.
Naidu cooperated with the police and agreed to go with them in his convoy, while his security personnel were allowed to accompany him. He was later taken to Vijayawada, where he will be produced before a court.
TDP condemns arrest, calls it political vendetta
The TDP has strongly condemned the arrest of its leader and termed it as a political vendetta by the ruling YSRCP. The party has accused Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of misusing his power and trying to silence the opposition.
TDP spokesperson K Pattabhiram said that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional, as Naidu had not violated any law or court order. He said that the land allotment case was fabricated and baseless, and that Naidu had not received any notice from the CID or the court before his arrest.
He also alleged that the police had violated the human rights of Naidu by arresting him in the middle of the night without any prior intimation. He said that the TDP would not be cowed down by such tactics and would continue to fight for the rights of the people.
The TDP has called for a state-wide bandh on Sunday to protest against Naidu’s arrest and demand his immediate release. The party has also appealed to its allies and other opposition parties to support its agitation.