Hyderabad: A day after the Andhra Pradesh High Court imposed a gag order in the Amaravati land scam, state municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana questioned the legality of the order and asked what was in the FIR that had the bigwigs so scared.

He questioned the urgency shown by the court in issuing the gag order, barring media from reporting anything related to the case against the former AG and daughter of a sitting SC judge. Mr. Satyanarayana said, “Gag orders were not issued even when sitting CJI’s Ranjan Gogoi and Dipak Mishra faced certain allegations. There have been tweets from prominent journalists, associations of journalists, and even people from the legal fraternity, questioning whether there is a different law for these accused and a different one for the common man. Only an FIR has been lodged. Thousand of FIRs are lodged every day. What is scaring the former AG and daughters of SC judge? Why has an FIR startled them so much?”

Two orders pronounced by the Andhra HC on Wednesday have become a major flash point in the country. In one, the HC issued an injunction against any media reporting related to an FIR against a former AG and daughter of a sitting SC judge. The second order stayed investigations by a special investigation team (SIT) that was constituted by the state government to probe the alleged irregularities committed during the previous TDP regime.

Regarding the stay order, the minister said, “What is more shocking is that this order, in a way, struck down a resolution passed by the AP Legislative Assembly, based on which the SIT was formed, thereby making it unconstitutional and against the basic tenets of autonomy of the legislature.”

Mr. Satyanarayana further said, “We respect the judiciary. We do not intend to insult or defame anybody but it is our job to ensure that the truth reaches the citizens. We have not resorted to saying or doing anything unconstitutional.”

The minister said that the court had stayed all proceedings pertaining to the probe by the Cabinet sub-committee, as well. “Constituting a Cabinet sub-committee, deciding on its duration and powers is a legislative privilege given to the Assembly by the Constitution of the country. How can the courts intervene and issue a stay? Why a stay into the probes into scams?” he asked.

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