Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government on 5 March urged the Supreme Court to lift the stay imposed by the AP High Court on the probe into the Amaravati land scam case. Senior advocate Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for AP government, submitted that the government was agreeable to a court-monitored investigation even by the CBI.
"We agree to no coercive action against the accused. We agree to court-monitoring of the investigation. We also welcome a CBI investigation under the monitoring of the court. But let the investigation continue," Mr. Dhavan submitted.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, also appearing for the AP government in a connected petition, supported Mr. Dhavan and urged the Bench to vacate the High Court stay.
A division Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy expressed difficulty in considering the matter on Friday and the Bench agreed to hear the petitions on 7 March.
The issue relates to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe ordered by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy's government into allegations of large-scale scam through the sale of lands near Amaravati, in anticipation of the establishment of a new state capital there after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The FIR names several high-profile individuals as accused, including the former Advocate General (AG) Dammalapati Srinivas and relatives of Supreme Court judge Justice N.V Ramana.
It may recalled that the then High Court Chief Justice J.K Maheshwari, in September 2020, had stayed the SIT probe acting on a petition filed by former AG Dammalapati Srinivas. The High Court also passed a gag order against media reportage and social media discussions on the contents of the FIR.
In November 2020, the Supreme Court had issued a notice on the petition filed by AP against the High Court's interim order. The apex court had also vacated the gag order passed by the High Court.
Meanwhile, Jagan had sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India complaining that the High Court was trying to destabilize his government by acting in connivance with the TDP. He alleged that Justice Ramana was trying to influence some High Court judges to pass orders against his government.
Last December, the Chief Justice of AP High Court, J.K Maheshwari was transferred to the Sikkim High Court and the former CJ of Sikkim High Court, Justice A.K Goswami, was appointed the CJ of AP High Court.