Hyderabad: Trial in the sensational cash-for-vote scam allegedly involving Congress parliamentarian A Revanth Reddy is set to begin on March 8, 2021. TRS nominated Anglo Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson will depose before the special court.
In 2015, ACB booked then Kodangal MLA A Revanth Reddy, Bishop Harry Sebastian, Rudra Uday Simha, and Mathaiah Jerusalem for abetment to bribe TRS nominated Anglo Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson to vote in favor of Telugu Desam Party MLC candidate. On May 31, 2015, ACB laid a trap and nabbed Revanth Reddy and Uday Simha for allegedly paying Rs 50 lakh bribe to the MLA.
For the first time since the scam was busted, TRS MLA Elvis Stephenson and key eye-witness Malcom Taylor were summoned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau sleuths to its headquarters.
In five and a half-hour long mock drill, the duo was made to skim through the complaint copy, electronic evidence (audio and video), robust briefing, and more on March 1. The duo was briefed on the possible questions that might be asked during the trial. Public Prosecutor Surender Rao will be arguing the case on behalf of the ACB, NewsMeter has learnt.
Earlier Special (ACB) court in Hyderabad framed charges against MP A Revanth Reddy and two others in the case. It is to note the High Court had quashed the case against Mathiah Jerusalem. Now only three people are accused in the case.
How the Cash-for-Scam unfolded?
A year after Telangana was carved out as a state, the elections for the house of legislative council was scheduled in 2015. By then, the TRS party had nominated Elvis Stephenson, the only nominated MLA representing the Anglo Indian Community. Elected MLAs from the Electoral College for Legislative Council poll.
Bishop Harry and Mathias Jerusalem had allegedly approached Elvis Stephenson and offered Rs 2 crore and a ticket to leave the country or vote in favor of TDP candidate Vem Narender Reddy. Later Elvis filed a written complaint following which the ACB took up the investigation.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that Bishop Harry and Mathias were part of the TDP Christian cell. Revanth Reddy and Elvis met at New Bhoiguda on May 30, 20 15. It was decided that he would abstain from voting or cast his vote in favor of the TDP candidate. A deal was struck at Rs 5 crore.
Revanth Reddy was caught on record saying he was authorized by Chandrababu Naidu to negotiate with him. He assured the complainant that if the deal is exposed, Elvis will be accommodated as Anglo-Indian MLA in AP or any Christian minority post at Central government, ACB said in its charge-sheet.
On May 31, ACB laid a trap at Pushpa Nilayam- South Lalaguda. Revanth Reddy was caught on camera offering a sum of Rs 50 lakh to Elvis Stephenson and promised to pay the remaining Rs 4.5 Crore post-elections. While the negotiation was on, ACB sleuths entered the premises
ACB has named Chandrababu Naidu in the Chargesheet.
"They briefed me, I am with you don't bother. All your demands will be fulfilled," this was one of the phone conversations which is part of ACB's charge-sheet.
The investigating agency informed the court that this was the audio recording between Chandrababu Naidu and MLA Elvis Stephenson on May 30, 2015. The The Chargesheet mentions the name of Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu at several junctions.
It is pertinent to mention the cash-for-vote scam case has geared momentum after the Supreme Court directed that all cases against legislators and parliamentarians should be put on the fast track. Also it is a coincidence that the case is up for trails at the time when Telangana is witnessing its second election to the house of legislative councils.