10 Oct 2023 2:41 PM GMT
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that former CM Chandrababu Naidu's judicial custody in the Skill Development Scam case cannot be deemed as judicial custody in another case lodged against him in connection with the inner ring road scam.Justice K Suresh Reddy said both the cases are "totally different from each other, they arise out of different transactions, the investigation to...
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that former CM Chandrababu Naidu's judicial custody in the Skill Development Scam case cannot be deemed as judicial custody in another case lodged against him in connection with the inner ring road scam.
Justice K Suresh Reddy said both the cases are "totally different from each other, they arise out of different transactions, the investigation to be conducted by the respective investigating officers is also different from one another, and the witnesses to be examined and the evidence to be collected are also different."
Naidu has not yet been arrested in the inner ring road scam. However, he moved a regular bail plea stating he is in deemed custody since his arrest in skill development scam.
Senior Counsel Siddharth Luthra, placed reliance on Tupakula Appa Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, Viswanathan v. State of Andhra Pradesh, and K.R. Giri Babu v. State of Andhra Pradesh to submit that since the petitioner was already in judicial remand, he cannot move an application for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of CrPc and contended that the Court ought to consider the application moved for granting of bail under section 439 of the CrPc.
Senior Counsel Luthra pushed that since all three judgments cited by him were passed by a coordinate Bench of the AP High Court, this Court is bound by the dictum of its predecessor, and if not, can only refer the matter to a higher bench.
Court rejected this argument stating judicial custody which he has been undergoing in respect of one of the above crimes cannot be deemed to be his judicial custody in the inner ring road scam also, entitling him to seek regular bail in the present crime, in which he is not arrested and remanded to judicial custody.
Furthermore, Justice Reddy noted that he is not bound by the rulings of the coordinate Benches, since the Supreme Court has already adjudicated upon similar matters in C.B.I. v. Anupam J. Kulkarni.
"Hon’ble Supreme Court in C.B.I. v. Anupam J. Kulkarni, which states that in a case arising out of different transaction and different occurrence, the accused must be formally arrested in connection with other case and then order of the Magistrate be obtained for detention in police custody be obtained, would be squarely applicable and the judicial custody which the petitioner has been undergoing in respect of one of the above crimes cannot be deemed to be his judicial custody in the present crime also, entitling him to seek regular bail in the present crime, in which he is not arrested and remanded to judicial custody."
His plea that there is negligence on part of the police in taking steps to arrest him though the inner ring road scam case was registered way back in May 2022 was also rejected stating,"the petitioner is aware of the registration of the present crime against him, and in fact, accused Nos.2 to 5 in the present crime obtained anticipatory bails. The petitioner, having slept over his right of applying for an anticipatory bail, now cannot throw the blame on the prosecuting agencies saying that there is deliberate negligence on their part, particularly, when the cases registered against the petitioner are arising out of different offences and transactions."
The Senior Counsel and Advocate General appearing on behalf of the State had contended that negligence could not be pinned to the investigative authorities as right after the crime was registered in 2022, a petition was moved before the concerned Court under Section 269 of CrPc for the production of the accused (including the petitioner herein) before Court.
The Court noted that the judgements submitted by the petitioner would not be applicable to the present case, since negligence on part of that Police was a prerequisite.
However in the present case "The contention that there is deliberate negligence on the part of the police in showing the arrest of the petitioner in the present crime immediately after his arrest in the other crime, also does not merit acceptance, in view of the stand taken by the State that a petition under Section 267 Cr.P.C. was filed for production of the petitioner before the Court in relation to the present crime on the very next day of the arrest of the petitioner in Crime No.29 of 2021."
Justice Reddy also scrapped Naidu's plea to permit him to surrender himself to the jurisdiction of this Court and then consider his plea, since the same would require actual and physical production of the accused, which was impossible.
The case alleges corrupt practices on Naidu's part in creation of the Master Plan for the Capital City of Amravati (in AP) and the aligning Inner Ring Road, so as to benefit only certain persons and entities, associated to him.
Naidu's counsel had urged the Court that if it is not impressed by arguments on regular bail, the plea may be considered for anticipatory bail since nomenclature under which petition is filed is not relevant.
The Court rejected this contention too, stating,
"the consideration to be undertaken for grant of pre-arrest bail to an accused is different from that of the consideration that the Court undertakes in case of plea of regular bail. In that view of the matter and in the facts and circumstances, this Court sees no ground to undertake the exercise of different consideration than what was required to be undertaken."
Interestingly enough, Justice K. Suresh, has made reference to the same judgements, ratios and explanations referred to in this judgment to dismiss another bail application filed by Naidu, wherein case was booked against him under various sections of the IPC for allegedly instigating his party works to attack and even injury the party members of Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party in April 2023.
Although the facts of the cases differ from one-another, the argument advanced by Naidu was the same and in regards to 'deemed custody.'
Case Title: Nara Chandrababu Naidu vs State of AP
Counsel for petitioner in CrlP 6965 of 2023: Siddharth Luthra, Senior Counsel, Dammalapati
Srinivas, Senior Counsel, Pramod Kumar Dubey, Senior Counsel, assisted by Anmol Kheta, Miss Aditi, Satyam Sharma, Ginjupalli Subba Rao, M. Lakshmi Narayana, S. Pranathi, G. Basaveswara Rao.
Counsel for petitioner in 6994 of 2023: Posani Venkateswarlu, Senior Counsel assisted by Posani Akash.
Counsel for Respondent in both cases: Advocate General & Senior Counsel Subrahmanyam Sriram
CrlP 6965 of 2023
CrlP 6994 of 2023
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment [CrlP 6965 of 2023]
Click Here To Read/Download Order [CrlP 6994 of 2023]