Accused in poachgate case doing ‘forum shopping tactics’, TS tells HC

Hyderabad: The Telangana government and the SIT argued before the court that the accused and suspect persons in poachgate were adopting “forum shopping tactics” to conceal facts in the case. They were challenging the orders of a single judge bench which had transferred the probe to the CBI and quashed the SIT.

Representing the government, Dushyanth Dave, senior counsel at the Supreme Court, said that the probe should not be transferred to the CBI on mere apprehensions, surmises and conjectures. He was presenting his argument before the division bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji in the virtual mode.

He refuted the contentions of the accused Ramachandra Bharathi, K. Nandu  Kumar and D.P.S.K.V.N. Simahyaji, who had argued that the state government and SIT appeals were not maintainable before the High Court because the petitions before the single judge were to be viewed as criminal jurisdiction.

Senior counsel told the division bench that they had filed writ petitions before the single judge and stated that there would be violations to their rights if the police conducted the probe. They requested transfer of the case to any independent agency. But they were taking different stands in the appeals filed by the government, setting aside the claim of violation  of their rights and arguing that the writ petition before the single judge was criminal in nature.

“Their prayer before the single judge was of a civil nature, like violation of personal rights. The single judge did not exercise power under criminal nature. The court observed that this type of crime was very serious. Now, they are arguing that the single judge had passed orders under criminal jurisdiction. Such stands are nothing but forum shopping tactics,” Dave argued.

Further, citing several judgments of the Supreme Court, which had stated that the transfer the cases shall not be on mere apprehensions, Dave asked where was the link the accused and the single judge found that the Chief Minister was given CDs by the investigating officers. He asked how did the accused get a confirmation that the Chief Minister had intervened in the SIT probe.

“Based on surmises and conjectures, they inferred that the Chief Minister was involved in the case,” senior counsel Dave argued.

Senior counsel Uday Holla and S.D. Sanjay representing Karimnagar-based advocate Bhusarapu Srinivas and Tushar Velampally, who were named as suspects in poachgate, argued that the SIT had raided houses with more than 30 police personnel. They said the police, who also part of SIT, were under the administrative control of the Telangana government which is headed by the Chief Minister. So there was a chance of a biased probe by the SIT.

As counsels for the state government and P. Rohith Reddy sought more time to submit their rejoinders, the court adjourned the case to Tuesday.

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